Sunday, 4 December 2011

it's creeping up....

christmas I mean! not that it feels like christmas outside -it's cold enough today, but windy and wet at times as well. and somehow - not christmassy, even though it's the 2nd advent sunday today! well, never mind how it feels, it's time for gift and card making etc. and I have been doing a few of the latter. the first one nearly made me go gaga - I should have known of course, but I wanted the motive for a mouse lover and grabbed it up against my better judgement. half stitches and aida don't go as nicely together as full crosses, but a few here and there are manageable. but aida, half crosses plus tiny backstitches - yuck, I can tell you, that will be the one and only time I do this project. the outcome is ok, but the backstitches took me nearly as long as the rest of the embroidery. and because I hate french knots with a vengeance, I took small beads for the black dots and the mistletoe berries...
after all the work on this one I had to make up some time with the next designs....

 .. which is why this star is much more simple in design. a few crosses, normal backstitch and a few beads...
just like this one, but I think they loose a lot of their charm in the photo, when you can't see the sparkle of fabric and beads.

last week we had our final meeting in the spinners and craft group and as usual we did a secret santa. I received a mysterious box - roses at christmas?:)

 not so, the contents are pure christmas colours after all! I thought they are for decoration, but no, they are actually meant to be napkin holders, made from felt. hm, not sure our household deserves something like napkin rings, but I can always hang them up as deco instead.

at the same meeting I stocked up on some merino fibres. I wanted to use more purples with the green tones I dyed last time, but was too lazy to start dyeing again. and then there is that scarf design I have in my head - with progressing colours from white via grey to black. that's the bags on the right....

I didn't make it to the knitting & stitching show in Dublin this year, but luckily one of the members of the group went - and was able to find a few goodies from Oliver Twists that I had asked for. some more multicolour embroidery threads; the one at the bottom is the mix of greens I used for the christmas SAL a few weeks back.  actually it's much safer to send somebody else to that stall with a shopping list! every time I go there myself I buy much more than I should... but the colours are so inviting that it's hard to be reasonable!
of course in the garden it looks bleak most of the time now - no wonder in the constant miserable weather we're having. but bang in the middle of my veggie bed sits the crabapple tree "Everest". and despite the mucky weather it is still full with the tiny fruits! I picked and picked buckets full for juice, but eventually I ran out of space (and steam:)... pity about the apples, I thought and when I heard that somebody is using them like sloes to make a liqueur, I thought: why not? ok, the 800 g I picked didn't make a dent in the stuff that's still on the tree, but the result looks nice - and smells gorgeous! not for me though - another christmas goodie to go away eventually....
I plan to put a few of the best looking apples into the small bottles for decoration, but I am not sure if the rest will be edible. the sloes are too acidic and bitter for this and I assume the crabapples will be as well.

of course I've been knitting as well  - nothing like a bit of that in front of the warm oven! this is a small giveaway project, a cowl. I used the same pattern I knitted for the slouch socks, which gives a wrinkly furrowed look to the cowl. I used smaller needles for the top and larger ones for the bottom, that's why it looks a bit odd in shape. but it feels quite nice around the neck and is long enough to cover v-necks or larger neck openings. they knit up quite qickly with needles size 4 mm and I was able to use exactly one ball (50 g) for each - couldn't stop myself, had to make two, because I had two balls of this yarn:)
spinning has been all purple these last few weeks - because I wanted to finish all those yarns dyed with logwood (they do stain the fingers a bit when spinning, but after washing the yarn this stops). all of those are from the same dye bath, several dips and everything is purple:) the lightest one on the left is alpaca; there is some wool/silk blend, some mohair, and the darkest one on the right is south american top. I wasn't sure what to use the yarns for, but after translating the article "handspun gallery" for the latest spinoff I decided that I will make a vest like the one featured - only much longer than shown. and I think to set of the purple a bit better, I'll spin some contrast colour, maybe a darker green? not sure yet, but nothing will happen on this front before christmas, so I still have plenty of time to get inspiration on that matter.
 enough photos now  - back to more knitting (mittens) and spinning (green silk/wool this time!)

Saturday, 3 December 2011

special request - or "water management"

Leigh from "5 acres and a dream" asked me if I could post photos of our water supplies. so here it goes:

if you come from a civilized country in the western world, chances are that you just open the tap in the house and out comes clear water. of course - this comes with a price tag, too! I don't know how it is in other countries, but I know that in Germany you pay more for waste water now than for the water itself. which makes perfect sense, because cleaning waste water is a huge effort and has to be paid for. in our temperate climate a lot of people seem to think that water is ubiquitous; there's enough rainfall, so why the high prices? but clean water is not a matter of course; it's not just "there" to be used up! and when we came over we realised quickly that we've been spoiled in Germany. over here in the countryside water supplies are private schemes. and let's just say that their running isn't always as efficient as it should be. the result is that some of the time the water in our area is not fit for human consumption. that is why we didn't get connected to that scheme! luckily rain is usually in plentiful supply in the west of ireland. so we installed tanks. small tanks, large tanks - all to be used to collect water for the house. we have two wells within walking distance, where we can fetch drinking water in canisters, but the rest of our water consumption is covered by rainwater.
the picture above shows the most important part of it (apart from the rain that is:). to use water inside the house you need at least some pressure. this is provided by height - as you can see, we have one large tank installed  higher up than the main house (and there is a very large concrete tank underneath!). this gives the water enough pressure to flow inside the pipes easily - though you can see inside, when the level is lower, the pressure sinks! of course this tank doesn't hold nearly enough water for our needs. there are more:

 those drums are at the back of the house. they are connected, so that the overflow is caught by the next drum - until they are overflowing. which has been happening a lot lately, because of the extremely wet summer and autumn. that isn't a problem however, because there is a small "cherry laurel forest" behind the house, which can take up all the overflow without getting too muddy.
there are more tanks alongside the shed. same here, tanks are connected to make the best use. just in the corner to the bottom left you can see a black pipe. this pipe is used to pump water from the tanks into the main tank higher up. the same set-up is on the other side to empty those thanks. the pump is installed inside the shed and runs on electricty. unfortunately, but no other set-up has been viable so far. and it needs to be inside, because the pump can freeze during winter, which we had to discover last year in the very cold spell:( the shed isn't heated and after 6 weeks of near permanent frost the water inside the pump turned to ice and the pump exploded - and had to be replaced.

 this is another tank - which holds about 1000 l and is fed by the porch roof to the side of the house. the white wall to the right belongs to the tank in the next photo.
 we also have two large concrete tanks. one is below the black "egg" in the first picture. and the second one is in this photo. from the outside it looks like part of the house - but the lower part in front is actually all tank. with a tap at the bottom - and a roof on top, which also feeds the black "egg", which is behind the white part.
 of course there are drums close to every roof, never mind how small. this one is at the front porch (with gravel underneath to catch any overflow), but there are others for the greenhouse etc. all in all we have well over 15.000 l of water, if all tanks are full. since we started this system, we have never been out of water, even in drier years. of course, even this water isn't really "free". we don't pay money (apart from having well and rain water tested for pollution each year, the electricity for the pump and water filters, which need replacement every now and then) - but I can tell you that it takes quite a lot of work to manage it all. you have to keep the gutters clean, and of course the tanks need regular cleaning as well. you have to monitor the water level in the upper tank or you might run out of water just when you're all soapy in the shower:) but all in all we are lucky to have such good water - no need for softener or calgon etc. in our household! and of course, being a natural dyer - I value my very soft water as well:))
unfortunately there are still no proper water charges here, related to consumption of the user, at least in our area. you can still see leaking water troughs in the fields and nobody looking after them. farmers still spread slurry willynilly close to wells etc. it takes a long time to seep into some people's minds that having good water is their right - without doing anything for it!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

not much time to blog

more than a month without entries - where have the days gone? I have the intention of putting something up and woosh, the day is over again....
I haven't been lazy, I did finish my christmas -sal and added to my house-sal. I spun and dyed and knitted... but not everything can be shown in photos! just in case people read my blog without me knowing - it's closer to christmas now and presents are "growing" in every corner of the house....
this is the middle of my house-sal, it's so large that I can't show details and all the houses....I still have to add more detail here and there, but with christmas coming closer, I had to pack it away to get going with the more pressing things... I'll grab it  again after the holidays!

4 close-ups, some my own designs, others changed from charts I found in my stash. as you can see the proportions aren't correct, but they aren't in the houses either - unless they make gigantic toys etc.:) I just made sure not to add winter impressions on one side of the town, when there are cherry blossoms on the trees in the churchyard:) my favourite are the three dogs (our three dogs, two of which we lost). one pees on the lantern, one chases a cat - and the last one, which looks a bit odd, is Timmy, our sheep dog....

the next thing I finished, or rather nearly finished, is the christmas -sal from the same designer. I changed a few things, mainly due to the fact that I miscalculated my yarn requirements and had ordered only one skein each. in fact I just made it with the red, only a few cm left. I changed the colour of the writing, and Renate, the designer was kind enough to change the german title into an english carol - thanks for that, Renate! (she also made one for french embroiderers.....what a service!) I added mohair and wool embroidery threads for the coat, beard and angel's wings. and I added beads and put beads instead of thread in for the showflakes... at the bottom I tried a multicolour yarn from OT, which worked rather well, too. all that's missing now are loops for hanging and wadding plus fabric as background and frame.

 the angel in detail - I think the fluffy wings are just about visible. I used the madeira lana yarn again, which can be brushed to show fluffy fur coats - or angel wings:)) the small snowflakes are done with mill hill sead beads, but the few larger ones are silver-lined rocailles - not enough of the white ones ordered...
 same for santa - a mohair beard and the coat is fur lined as well - it's so cold where he lives!
I did some more dyeing, when I saw that the rhamnus berries had ripened, apparently without the birds noticing. I picked as many as I could and dyed on wool, after I left them to "pickle" in vinegar for a few days. the yellow is from another dye...

I also spun up all my purple logwood dyed fibres, so that now I have a heap of them, ready to knit into a shawl - rectangular I think. and I made a few inserts for christmas cards, some ornaments for secret santa exchanges - and started on a knitted pin cushion, another giveaway.  but in this weather and season photos can be difficult to take - it's either grey or wet or windy or dark - or everything together. and in those rare few sunny dry hours we get - there are many other things to take care of! well, maybe in the next entry:))

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

crabapples anyone?

I could open a shop - just with crabapples, at least for a while:)) I am picking and picking and making juice, but the trees don't look as if I picked much at all. if I had a very small garden with only one tree in it - it would have to be the crab apple "Evereste"! in spring you get a cloud of white-pink flowers - and towards autumn the small apples shine red in the sun (if there is any that is:)). I wouldn't recommend eating them, they are small and extremely acidic - but they are brilliant for juice or a jelly, pinkish, when the apples were allowed to ripen fully. ok, you can get a darker reddish jelly if you use "Red Sentinel", and it looks really pretty - but the apples are the size of cherries and you'd need a whole orchard full of them to get enough apples:))
another two buckets full, one only evereste, the other has another variety at the bottom, looks similar, just less red - forgot the name, we have quite a few of them:)) golden hornet has yellow apples, as the name says, but they are quite early and this year they have some sort of scab. don't look terribly inviting, so I just use the nice ones - choosy:)) the rest of the apples are a few eaters, very small, nothing much on the tree, there never is (bad location I think!). the rest of the green ones are cider apples, I'll use them to make more juice, by steaming them....the small bucket in front contains ornamental quinces, which are extremely hard and quite small - but have a sensational scent and make a lovely jelly or jam, if you can be bothered to push the pulp through a sieve. I usually add cinnamon and or cloves - yummy for winter! the small brown "things" represent our pear harvest.... no words necessary?:)) 
when the weather is reasonable (we only had a few light showers today!) I am outside, but if not - I'll keep the dye pot going. remember the not very exciting yellow I managed with alderbuckthorn berries in cold vinegar? the one at the bottom... I thought I'd give it another try, picked a handful more of the berries and heated it all up with some water, too. I added alum mordanted wool - and bingo, I got a lovely green, which was very hard to catch with the digicam. it's bright and "shiny", if wool can be called that. at the bottom of the upper left pic you see the original yellow - didn't like it, put it into the pot again - at least it's green now and not another not very nice yellow:)) not the colour you can get on silk (right), but better than nothing. anyway, this was it from the rhamnus tree - I hope for a better harvest next year!
I also spun more purple - see the header picture. it's half wool, half silk, dyed with logwood on alum... on the knitting front I managed a bit of progress with the Moiraine scarf, but not much to show really. and I did a few "fillings" on my house hanging.... not terribly productive but all the "topping and tailing" of the tiny apples takes quite some time! 

Friday, 14 October 2011

foggy autumn days

you can see above how our autumn days look - and have been looking for weeks. everything feels damp, even though we have temps of about 12-15 deg. C - quite mild - nearly (irish) summer temperatures:))
but at least the yucky weather means that I don't have to have a bad conscience about the lack of gardening progress. instead - I knit... or spin, or do other textile things I like! this is my take on the hitchhiker idea, though a bit short for a scarf. quite soft though and I think it can be worn with a shawl pin as closure to keep it from slipping off. not at all my colours, it's going to go into the giveaway box....

I also finally finished and ironed my small houses - all that's missing now are a few trees and other bits in between. and a "frame" made of fabric of course, as I don't like picture frames for my embroidery all that much. it's quite large - I hope it'll still fit the wall space I made it for!

the last few weeks haven't seen all that much spinning, but I did manage two skeins of alpaca, dyed with logwood leftovers. I still have a lot of darker purple to spin; not sure what to use it for, but I still want to make a revontuli shawl - and the yarn might fit the bill.

I still have some pre-mordanted tops in storage, so when I picked the few ripe rhamnus berries I could find I remembered that I read somewhere about berry dyeing with vinegar. essentially most of the berry dyes are supposedly light faster, when soaked in vinegar. I put in berries and vinegar and added some wool top - in the hope that some of the deep purple liquid might attach.... hm, disappointment - no purple, just yellow. the tones on the left are done with ripe rhamnus berries on silk, with a normal dyebath, simmering in water etc. not really worth the bother of using all that vinegar, I'd say. well, now I know - if I have a better harvest next year again, I won't waste the berries for this!

I also needed a simple knitting project for those evenings, where I am too tired for complicated cables and such. I stumbled across a new KAL - the pattern is called Moiraine. this is only a test for now. I would like to use the pattern for a narrow silk scarf in dark blue (handspun), but I need to see how it looks before I start to go off buying expensive beads etc. the yarn is nearly black (with purple parts) sockwool, dyed with logwood, and some lustre beads from my stash. the patterns seems easy enough, but I think my beads could be a tad bit bigger.... 

last but not least the food: elderberries are quite scarce this year (again), but I managed to pick enough for two large jars of juice. I still have two from last year, which should be enough to fight colds during winter with a hot "elderberry grog" and maybe a bit of elderberry brandy as well.... nice gift for christmas, I found last year:))

Sunday, 9 October 2011

my first socks ever!

no, I didn't just finish my first pair of handknit socks.... I stopped counting a long time ago - but I received a very nice surprise package last week! in it were the first handknitted socks I received! ever! most people probably think that as a knitter I can make them myself  - and of course I can (and do). but it is so much nicer to receive them ready to wear like this:
 very colourful - I could probably see my feet in the dark with them on:)) I would never wear a cardie, sweater or any other larger garment in those shades, but for socks I love bright colours! they are fun and I only wear woollen socks in my Birkies anyway, which are not exactly the most elegant outfit to have. and even though it's not terribly cold here yet, they are very snug and comfy to wear. and they fit:)) which doesn't come as a surprise as the knitter, my oldest niece, has the same shoe size I have!
Sandra also sent me a little notebook, handmade - covered in purple paper, because I "complained" in her blog that I would prefer one in purple - hint, hint:)) thanks Sandra, though it's much to nice to be used.......
in this weather, drizzle or rain, some wind, grey all the time - there has been no progress in the garden, but I cannot bring myself to weed or dig in the constant rain:(( good thing I am not prone to depression! this weather is really going on everbody's nerves by now! someone talked about a golden october some time back - unfortunately they didn't say where exactly we can find one!

on the other hand I've been working on several projects inside. I am still knitting the Snapdragon flip-top mittens from Ysolda Teague, in black alpaca - the first christmas present. and I had planned to work her Damson shawl next, most likely with the pink/black silk/alpaca yarn I made recently. it has a pretty shape, but not too much pattern, so that the two-coloured yarn won't take away anything from a more complicated project. a while back I bought both of her "whimsical knits" e-books and I am quite happy with many of the designs; they are pretty without being fussy - but not too simple either.
but - unfortunately I got waylaid by something else... I stumbled across my "spring" handspun, a soft blend of merino, silk and soysilk, naturally dyed last summer. it literally fell down in front of me, when I was looking for something else - so I couldn't just ignore it:)) I am not really all that keen on knitting patterns that have been going through pretty much every blog - but I decided to give a "hitchhiker" my own spin. the yarn is quite chunky, so I decided to make larger steps on one side, a kind of giant sawtooth edge, while the other one is smooth (in fact I made it even smoother by knitting an attached i-cord:)).... my scarf is shorter, and more crescent shaped - unfortunately I couldn't take a photo, because the weather was wet all day today and yesterday - and the light was dysmal inside:(( I'll take one as soon as we have a few dry hours (or minutes?)

and there are my little embroidered houses - I have to do just one more to fill a hole on one side. I did the school and nearly finished the toy store, all I need now in my little town is a fashion shop:)) and a few bits and pieces in between - bikes, dogs, statues etc... I'll take a photo once all the main houses are done - and might just start the Christmas SAL in between, urghs... I know, I shouldn't, but just now this is very tempting - probably because of the ugly weather! or maybe because I heard a radio program today, lyric fm, the irish station for classics and jazz. I didn't believe my ears when all of a sudden this afternoon I heard a swing rendition of "oh tannenbaum". honestly! not quite what I expected in mid-october, but hey - we're just 10 weeks away!!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

more finished "bits"

I finished a few other things - first you have projects in progress everywhere - and all of a sudden there are cleared out corners that need to be filled again:))

this is the test knit of a "spinning bag" - pattern available (german and english) via ravelry. I had no problems with the pattern, there were a few minor alterations, but nothing major. I didn't use the given yarn but took some lambswool I dyed myself. normally I'd knit this yarn with needle size 3.5 to 4 mm, but I've used it in felting before and found that the texture is nicer, when knitted on larger needles to give room for shrinkage. I used 5 mm needles - and when the bag was finished it looked more the size of a sailor's rucksack:)) I have never been tighter with any yarn! to finish the i-cord around the opening I had to use the dark wool for the handle loops and cut off the leftover yarn from the cast-on! I had just enough left to sew in the end, not an inch to spare:) I also ran tight with the darker brown for handles, so instead I used a third colour, also naturally dyed. this one was done with tree lichen, a colour I dyed many years ago. it's unbelievable, but the smell of the lichen is still recognizable after so many years and 2 washing cycles at 60 C.!!  which proves that natural dyes are quite wash proof! and gives the bag a nice "psychedelic"scent:))
this is a close-up of the handles - I used i-cords to sew around the handles - the original pattern used small rectangles.  you can also see the i-cord along the opening.

this is the end result - after felting in the washing machine twice at 60 deg. C. with a few added towels, but without washing powder! it's always a risk to use this, when felting naturally dyed yarns, because very often the colour change dramatically! usually still nice, but not always so - I didn't want to run the risk of ending up with mustard/grey yarn colours:)) the light sandy brown was dyed with the flowers of NZ flax (2nd bath), the darker brown was dyed with cheap irish tea. and the handles with lichen... I enjoyed the knitting of Bea's pattern - thanks for letting me do the test knit!
I am thinking of using this pattern again - this time for a smaller bag. I'd use sock wool and instead of felting the end result I'd knit the whole thing in double knit. this would avoid the constant crossing of threads while knitting and give a stable lining, too. of course it would take more time, but still - I like the pattern a lot and think it's worth the work. alternatively I had the idea to make a "fibre bag" instead - similar basic pattern, but instead of spinning wheels I might make my own chart, with a lot of different fibre names plus maybe a handspindle here and there? we'll see.... probably not before christmas though!
after finishing the two letters I also had to keep working on my houses in x-stitch! the designer of the SAL, Renate, was kind enough to make a post office esp. for me, I just changed colours a bit and added a post box. the weird thing the subconscience can do: when I checked the post office recently - there was in fact a poster in the window with some strong orange around! I chose the colour in the window totally at random - or so I thought!! it's not an exact replica of our local post office, but it comes pretty close, even though Renate has never seen the real one....  

I have a few more to go, right now I am working on the school. after this I have a fashion boutique to do and maybe also a kitchen supplies shop, depending on how much empty space I have left on the fabric. I did the zoo already - and when those houses are done I have to add "fillings", small charts that fill the spaces between the houses. I am still undecided about adding a small cottage such as ours.... but if I don't finish soon, I won't be able to take part in her christmas sal - which I definitely want to do.
it's a shame though - I checked my supplies for this and found fabric in different colours. but not enough christmas green and christmas red embroidery yarn - can you believe it, with all those boxes full of threads.... off to find an online shop for embroidery supplies....
I finished the batch of black alpaca/pink silk, I should have plenty of yarn for a shawl; haven't decided on a pattern yet, but it's very soft and silky and I am tempted to knit with it soon!

I also finally finished the blend I made for the spinning demo I did in july - which leaves the lendrum empty and ready to go for a bit of christmas spinning:)) the yarn on the left is a blend of lambswool, silk and some soy silk, all dyed naturally - plied with a commercial tussah silk. I like the soft muted colours, but they definitely won't be for me - I can't wear those autumnal shades or I look gravely ill....
to avoid an empty bobbin on my wheel I started with some logwood dyed lilac alpaca on the louet - I just have to decide which bigger project (apart from the green/yellow cuddly blanked...) I'll knit next!

Friday, 23 September 2011


I finished the second letter of the bunting - the R. just in time - a day to spare:)) well, at least I didn't have to do a night shift, wouldn't be the first time either... though I shouldn't glee too early - might still happen when I am doing the christmas presents:))

when you look closely (probably not visible in the pic) the yellow of the iron-on transfer is still visible in a few spaces, but I hope we'll always hang the finished bunting high enough so that people can't push their noses right onto the embroidery:))) taught me a lesson though: don't go over a drawing with another iron-on pen; make a new pattern to avoid that mess!

the little dots are all beads, though in hindsight I don't really know why I wanted to do the little clover in golden beads. but I am not taking them off again now! after all this embroidery I am going back to my houses in x-stitch for a while, because I want to finish this before it ends up as a UFO in some corner again. and also, a christmas sal is going to start soon, hopefully enough motivation to get the wall hanging done as well.....
I also finished the first skein of black alpaca with pink silk and I do like how it turned out. it's not too flashy, the black dones down the shiny pink nicely. I will have to spin another bobbin full of alpaca though, because the fine silk runs so far. not sure if even the second bobbin will use up all the silk, but I still have enough, so I'll end up with a nice long yardage for a bigger project in the end! any ideas? it's nice and soft, so very wearable against the skin.....
we had an exceptionally bad summer this year:(( a lot of rain and cool weather pretty much from may onwards - and here you see the result. this is the river glore, which flows into the famous river Moy eventually. it runs through the valley downwards from our house and normally only has about 2/3 of the water it has now! or less in a dryer summer! it is very wide just now - too wide for me to reach any of the lovely reed flowers I usually pick there at this time of the year:(( I managed less than 100 g - not enough for any serious dyeing. luckily I visited another spinner last week and we managed to pick a good lot more along one of the roads or there'd be no "reed green" for me this year. as it is I have 3 skeins of sock wool, one in the brighter green, two slightly more muted - and 300 g of "spring green" south american top. all still damp, so pic will follow. I do like the reed greens together with purples and lilacs - so I'll be mixing both, my reed dyes and some of the logwood dyes I did a few weeks ago.

first I have to finish the leftover on my Lendrum though - a blend of wools and silk, in salmon and greenish tones. tomorrow is our spinner's meeting and I'd like the wheel free to start something new. because I have several things started on both wheels I had to take the black alpaca off the louet bobbin into a ball to ply with the silk, not ideal, because I had to give it a bit of twist to work with the tighter spun silk. I had to work out kinks several times and I prefer to ply from the bobbin/lazy kate!

now, to decide which fibres to take for spinning tomorrow:)) spoilt for choice! maybe I should finish the fine silk/wool blend for a lace project? or should I grab some of the newly dyed fibres? anyway, I have to pack most of the dyed bits to bring for the group - which will give my room a very slightly emptier look (if that's possible:)) than before.... next week will start with a lot of sewing - I have to get a "door" curtain done and one for a small window. and the tweed/fleece sofa blanket - finally! and a box full of other things - some embroideries that need a backing, a small wall hanging for up here and so on... this of course would empty the heaps of stash much more efficiently than the fibres could, but with all the rushed embroidery going I didn't want to start dragging the sewing machine out as well. a studio with space for everything - hach, that would be very nice!!

have a nice weekend - hopefully with time for your own textile endeavours.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

a bit of progress....

.. and a few more things started:))

I finished my first piece of bunting, with the stylized letter O. a lot of twisting and turning to follow the circular lines - I think the R will be easier to do! and faster hopefully, because the due date would be next saturday. nobody is ripping my head off if I am a bit late, but I find it rather embarrassing to set a date for the rest and not finish in time myself.

this is the R - I painted the green with textile paint, it would be too time consuming to fill it in with embroidery. actually the few dark flower-like shapes in the O were done the same way... when I have finished the embroidery, I'll add small beads on the outside. my first idea was to make very fine i-cords and fix them as three-dimensional lines. but the silk yarn is simply too fine to knit with, so I'll embroider along the lines.

I was going to show you one more finished thing - but for some reason the picture does not want to be pulled up here:(( ok, I finished some things, but as some of you said: there's always something unfinished around! our group was contacted by a farmer with milk and jacobs sheep, if someone wanted his fleeces. don't ask - I know it was madness, but here are some of them.... there are several more boxes underneath and 2 large bin bags full in the porch. I hope I'll be able to hand some of them along to another spinner, but even so, there's a lot of washing and drying and carding in those boxes:))

so, here is another finished "item", part of a silk brick I dyed with cochenille. it's not quite as startling bright in daylight, and I am going to fill another bobbin, this time with black alpaca, to ply the silk with. or not - I am not quite sure yet if I'll like the strong contrast. anyway - I need the bobbins free soon, so one more tick on the list!

I also received a nice present in the mail (can't show you some of the other things - I ate most of the liquorice:)). the maker was a bit late for my birthday - but all is forgiven, as it is a really nice cover for the hot water bottle she sent me earlier this year (because it was cold and my birthday still far away:)). it's nice woollen felt, decorated with a patchwork band of "flying geese"... to pretty to be used really, but luckily washable! winter can come now - I am prepared:))

in the garden department there are a few more finished bits - all plums are used up, the picked rosehips de-seeded and the raspberries - eaten. I hope I'll have a few days without foody jobs, but very soon the crab apples will be ready and it's time to do a lot of juicing!

Monday, 12 September 2011

everything is half way....

I am in one of those stages, where everything is halfway finished - or unfinished, depending on view! no finished projects to show, just bits and pieces. I am working on the spinning bag, half way up. I am also knitting on my green/yellow cuddly blanket - halfway done. my embroidery is - you guessed it, halfway done. even in the garden - the beds are only half done:(( we've had a lot of showers last week and over the weekend and the ground is muggy, too muggy to work on properly. I am still working my way through some pickings, the plums I should finish today - but with the crab/cider apples we didn't even start yet! never mind, we've had so much wind during last night and today - that maybe everything came down by itself, we'll see.
anyway, I did take a few pix of halfway jobs:
this is the first part of bunting I need to put letters on. this one is the O, the other one (which I didn't even start:(() will show an R. eventually all pieces together will form the word "Connacht Textile Crafters" - we'll put the full bunting up at shows, meetings etc.; our group project for this year. I better hurry though, 24th of september is the meeting date - by which time both pieces should be finished..... all the blue lines in the center have to be embroidered, though I managed the middle last night. the R will suffer from serious neglect or rather a very diminished design, I fear!
I am further than halfway through my dye sessions - but I still have to use up the logwood, so there's another halfway project: I tried to take pix all day, but only managed to catch the right colours at night, with a flash in the dark - go figure... as a fan of purples this is just up my alley and I am seriously put out that I have to give most of this away! I'll keep the silk/wool on the right and the shiny looking mohair in the middle though, the fibres were mine. the shiny blob on the left will be a problem - ramie, lovely colour, but unfortunately a lot of logwood bits are stuck in the top:(( I only strained the batch for the rest of the fibres - idiotic, I know! 
these are some of our plums, halfway eaten as cake - the rest will go into the freezer:)) 
same for tomatoes - I picked quite a lot yesterday - and they taste really nice. I hope the rest of the lot will ripen, before the weather goes cold. we are not great fans of green tomato relish here! 
tada - and this is the one thing, where halfway doesn't apply - we finished the fruit salad all in one session, no leftovers - that must fall under magic vanishing of edibles? a bit of everything, blueberries, raspberries, grapes, etc... - a yummeeeh vitamin bomb:))