Saturday, 13 September 2014

The garden and other adventures!

Three years ago I was given my greenhouse.  An entire weekend was spent putting it together and filling it with manure from the field and a couple of grow bags on top.  It looked like this, but not for long!
It was such a lovely, blank canvas and I really enjoyed planning my crops.
My best success was with herbs and greens and the greenhouse, at first, more than paid for the effort and time it took to erect.  But very quickly it became overgrown.  Tomatoes enjoyed the warmth too much and grew rampant.  Then came the onslaught of the Fennel!  That needed to be dealt with severely, finally, this year was the year of marching mint and jasmine.  Between them, they actually pushed the greenhouse half off the brick base!!! I couldn't cut back the jasmine as it was between the greenhouse and the fence and was just too thick for me to get near it!  It was a tough call, but I decided to take down the greenhouse.  With hindsight it was a good decision as the old, brittle glass broke frequently as we removed it from the supports!  In no time at all the greenhouse was gone and I was left with the task of pulling out miles of mint roots and cutting back the jasmine.  Many trips to the dump followed!
And this is how it looks now!  I reused the bricks from the base as a little winding path.
A clematis will look so good from the Studio window while I work.
And I still have plenty of greens growing in the raised bed, and have planted more for the winter.  The little white steps are where I now sit to enjoy my morning cuppa, beneath the arch that supports my grapevine.  The cats love the new layout and will often join me :D  I still need to finish off the path to the Studio door, but as with most jobs these days, I just have to get on with it when I feel fit enough.
Meanwhile, I've been hat making, which you can read about on the Studio Blog :D

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Fresh starts.

I've neglected my Home blog this year as I've been focusing so much energy on the Studio, but now that the cooler days are creeping in, I'm feeling the nesting urge creep up on me :D

In July I went with Moomin to Glastonbury for a day of peace and a little shopping!  Don't be fooled, the water from the Spring is icy and I didn't sit still for long!
 Moomin has grown into someone I'm very proud of.  I have so many photos of her in the Chalice Well garden, showing her growing up during the course of our many visits.
 We had a few new additions to our hen flock, including a rather boisterous cockerel.  He is the big white one in the center.  He started off as Duke (originally named Daisy), but lately I've been calling him Foghorn Leghorn, as he's developed that strutting swagger :D
 I also went with a few friends to the Open Air Museum at Singleton.  The gardens were so delightful and gave me lots of inspiration.
 I've been to this cottage many times, and have felt very at home here.
 This was the first time I felt a real reluctance to leave.  I could move in right now and be very happy here :D
 This cottage was of a newer age and actually had glass in it's windows, so was much brighter.  The garden was more organised as well.
 This is the town square, which some of you may recognise from the Tudor Farm and other historical programs. 
My tasks for today are now to make my garden look like those above, haha!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Spinning and weaving.

I wanted to do some weaving this week after seeing some of the lovely work from the women in my Guild.  I went on Youtube (as you do!) and found lots of inspiring videos. Unfortunately I can't afford a proper loom but I did remember having a childrens toy loom among my stash of 'useful things'! With a bit of ingenuity, I thought it could be adapted!

I warped the loom and used a chair back to get the length to weave a scarf, with the help of Bambam!
The surplus wool was taped and wrapped around a long paint brush (lots of those around here!).
The wool used for the warp was from a ball of my first ever spun thread.
You can see how rough and wiggly it is, compared to the ball beside it, which is still pretty rough, but getting better!!!
Halfway through, quality control had to check my progress!  Tokhi and Bambam are half sisters and cousins!!!  That sounds odd doesn't it :D
When the loom was nearly full, I eased the wool off and unraveled another length.
Then set it up as before.  The only snag doing it this way, is that I had a big gap in the weaving, where the wooden support is at the bottom.  A bit of pulling and teasing sorted it out, but using a more delicate wool might not work as well.  Thankfully, my spun wool is tough!!!
I like using natural colours for these projects especially as I want to make some things to wear at the Ancient Farm, and lets face it, ancient people did not wear cerise!!!  One of my favourite wools is the Manx Loughton, which the Ancient Farm has a whole flock of, so that's handy!  They are born dark brown, but the sun bleaches the tips of their wool to a golden colour.  To get the wool fit for spinning, it needs to be carded or combed.
You lay the fibres out on the carder and gently brush with another carder.  Buying from ebay, the Manx Loughton is a uniform honey brown, but I like the contrasting colours to show.
This gives a lovely bumpy yarn with bright highlights.  I'm not sure quite how it will turn out when it's ply-ed (two strands joined together to make a strong, thick wool), but for now it's looking good and I'm quite happy.  If the wool is ply-ed properly, it will be easier to knit or crochet with it, but my early yarns were almost impossible to use, so the weaving is a good way to get around this :D

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Wooly Wonders will never cease!!!

Look what I made!!!
Yes, I really did do that piece of knitting and it's a proper cable stitch and all!!!
The pattern came from Tiny Owl Knits, which is the blog of the wonderfully talented and beautiful Stephanie Dosen.  She is such a sweet person who also sings like an Angel, I have her album.  Does it sound like I have a tiny girl-crush?  Well maybe a teeny one :D  I think I love the fact that her patterns are so easy to follow and I've learned something I'm really pleased with.  I can't wait to finish this, it's a neck warmer/cowl instead of wearing a bulky scarf.  The pattern is called Twig.  Do go and visit her and say hi :D

Monday, 3 March 2014

Wooly wonders!

It's been a long time since I last posted, mainly because I didn't want to moan about my health, but couldn't find the words for much else, other than my art, which is covered in the Studio blog!

I've been looking back at my very first blog which I started around 8years ago!  How much has changed since then???  My style of writing and attitude has been the biggest change and in many ways I miss my naive view of life, the Universe and everything!  Some of the descriptive phrases I used though were really quite good and I find it hard to imagine having that headspace again where I could lose myself in a moment and capture it on my blog.  Life was easier back then but I've adapted and am moving on.

This brings me to my blog heading.  I've been reconnecting to my love of wool.  I have quite a few sacks of fleece in storage for when I get around to spinning or felting it all.  I've found that since I joined a spinning guild I'm often offered a sack of fibres at hard to resist prices, or in the case of a very dirty Alpaca fleece, completely free!!!

This was my little work area at a country show last year, and my new wheel.  I'm spinning Romney fleece, which is soft as air and hopefully just as nice to knit or crochet.

This was at a show near Milland, a very lovely and typically English country village. Can you see all the wonderful fleece spread out to tempt us.  My little wheel is at the very back of the tent in the shade :D
The biggest problem with all this fleece and spun wool is that I'm really very rubbish at knitting.  I'm better at crochet and can turn out a granny square in 15minutes or so (not as fast as some people I know!).  But it's not enough to make a dent in the growing mountain of wool, so this week I've endeavored to spend my evenings practicing my knitting. I've a few very sweet and easy patterns to follow and will see what I can achieve :D