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Tuesday, 7 April 2015

A bad fleece.

If you are a doer whether it be a craft or something you make or build , the best advice I ever had was to use the best materials you can get. It applies to almost everything.

In spinning , it can sometimes be hard to get good fleece. Friends can be very helpful & often I am given fibre that they have either excess to their needs , that has been donated at my Guild , or that someone wants to get rid of because they don't know what to do with it. The latter is not always a good one. I have had alpaca fibre given to me that was not nice. It was full of skin bits stuck to the fibre shaft. Totally unusable unless you either picked it all off or cut it out. Not very nice anyway & I later found out that it had most likely been sheered off a dead animal. Another one was a collection of fleeces that had come from someone starting up in sheep. It was their first clip & not brilliantly done. The Southdown was very short & open but with lots of short cuts. The Jacob was felted. In hindsight I should have thrown this fleece away , but I wanted to see if it could be processed & how hard it would be. Also the owner wanted a little something back in exchange for the fleece.

I decided to tackle the very felted Jacob fleece. A friend of mine who is a very experienced shepherdess & spinner thought the fleece had been left on the animal too long & the new fleece had grown into the old one felting as it did. Anyway it was pretty clean so I didn't wash it & just teased the locks out & combed it out using a slicker dog brush. A great little tool for sorting out difficult fibres & although you can only do a small amount at a time, its very effective at getting out matts. Working from the end of the tip of each lock , I soon had enough to spin. I did make my hands ache but I was determined to get it done.I spun the single with quite a firm twist as I knew I wanted the yarn to be hard wearing. In the end , after sampling , I ended up with an aran knit which I had Navaho plied. This kept good colour sequence with the fleece & I ended up with a pair of very nice , durable , working gloves for this new shepherd.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Easter Greetings !

Happy Easter to you all.

Its that time of year again when the Easter Bunny lurks in surprising places & leaves chocolate eggs for all the little children & big ones. Obviously its not actually but we all know the story . What Easter means to me is the importance of family & family life. Normally & when I was growing up, we would all get together & have a big roast dinner, usually of lamb. Pudding would be Lemon meringue pie with lashings of cream. I can feel it on my hips now!
This year it was not to be. The men in my life were all working so I headed for my Mum & had lunch with her. It didn't matter she is in hospital, I still had lunch with her. We are very lucky in the fact that our local hospital is incredibly good & looks after families who come & spend time with their family who are patients. Mum has been there for weeks now & I have become a bit of a fixture. I go every day to see her & help her with daily life in readiness for her homecoming. She is doing well & nearly ready to come home. I cannot wait .
 Lunch was very nice & after a game of 3d noughts & crosses , of which I at last beat my mum hands down, we were ready for a jaunt out for the afternoon. After a quick ride home to see the dogs, I took mum to the local shopping outlet & we had a lovely time . We strolled around the park admiring the wonderful spring flowers & looked at the display of animals a charity had . Meerkats & chickens & a skunk !There was also some little ducklings. Cuteness was in full swing. After a cuppa & cake it was time to head back. A lovely afternoon & Mums first experience of Lincolnshire Springtime full of flowers.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Springing into Spring!!

It has been nearly a year since my last post. Not quite, but in a few months it will be. We are now in a whole new year & so much has happened to me & my family since then. Some of it good & some not so good & some just downright sad. A lot has involved hospitals & many miles of travel . For now , its getting back to working at my own family life & holding a home together & enjoying my family & dear friends.
Throughout this difficult time, apart from my darling hubby & sons , my dear friends have been my constant. So supportive & loving. Some of these are my newest friends who I have met through my most favourite crafts. Its amazing what health benefits we get through crafting. Not only do we get to focus our thoughts on something else , but we exercise our minds & laughter muscles & we all need to do that. Crafting is also something you can do alone or in a group. I do both , but I am in my most creative phase when working within a group , bouncing ideas off one another. It is this group time that allows me time off from my day job. A couple of hours twice a week is what keeps my going & recharges my batteries. It really is food for the soul.
During my time out , I thought about my little blog here often. I felt guilty , not attending to her needs to be fed with new stories & articles of interest. I felt frustrated at not having time or the mental thought process to write about things that I was making or I had seen. However , here she is patiently waiting to be filled & taken on a journey of creativeness once again. Looking at her stats , it appears that you, her readers have also been doing the same, popping back every now & then to see if something new has popped back on her pages. How disappointed you must have been. But here we are with new things just waiting to be shared here in blogland.
I love books, love childrens books & good novels. Most of all , I love a great crafting book & magazine. I used to regularly buy Mollie Makes , but now only sometimes or if there is an article I particularly want to read. I do sometimes pick up the books they have published. I have a Christmas one & more recently I purchased Woodland Friends. A great little book with some very cute things to make featuring my favourite woodland critters. There are so many items to make you will fall in love with. My favourite is a very cute foxy eye mask. So useful for keeping out the light when in need of a summer afternoon nap or even a full days sleep after a hard nights work!

I cannot wait to whip this foxy beauty out of my stash of fabric & felt. I know I have the perfect fabric in my stash drawer somewhere....
I bought my book on sale in The Works but it is available from many major high street book stores & online ones too. The recommended retail price is £11.99. I paid only £2.99.