White Rabbits!

Oh my, it’s October. Summer seems to have gone in a blink. But this is because it’s been very busy. There’s been:

  • Open Studios
  • Tour de Fleece (I didn’t quite manage to spin every day)
  • Impromptu Home Schooling (for just 10 days when our relationship with my son’s school hit a brick wall)
  • Coach trips to the beach
  • Lots of walks
  • A weighted warp loom on display in a Viking exhibition
  • Knitting art yarn on trains
  • Spinning at Cambridge Rock Festival (where I discovered the music of Doris Brendel)
  • Panicked buying of school uniform. Almost every item for my oldest has to have the school name and logo, even the socks for PE (which was the only item I was confident on the sizing for)!
  • New schools for both children
  • And sunsets!

Now suddenly it’s October! The nights are longer than the days and I have to admit it’s no longer summer. We’re nearly 4 weeks into term and we’ve just had a lovely weekend (though there does seem to be rather a lot of homework). We visited the lovely Anglesey Abbey today to see their Dahlia Festival. It was muddy underfoot but a kaleidoscope of colour as always.

How’s your summer been?

Nature

The last seven days I’ve been taking part in a Facebook challenge to post a photo a day for 7 days, with “no people or buildings – just nature in all its glory”.

I’ve enjoyed doing this and thought I’d share my week in photos.  (Most pictures were taken on the day, but the occasional one was from the previous day or a few days before).

5th May – A field of cowslips:

cowslips

6th May – Blossom in the orchard (taken day before):

apple

7th May – Auricula (taken a few days before, and featured in my last blog post):

auricula

8th May – Forget-me-not.  At first glance I thought this was a carpet of bluebells.  It reminded me of the flower fairy poems by Cicely Mary Barker:

So small, so blue, in grassy places
My flowers raise
Their tiny faces.

By streams my bigger sisters grow,
And smile in gardens,
In a row.

I’ve never seen a garden plot;
But though I’m small,
Forget me not!

forget me not

9th May – Bluebells (taken day before):

bluebells

10th May – Raining all day – so a spot of nature from inside:

orchid

11th May – After the rain, raindrops on aquilegia leaves:

drops

I’ve enjoyed sharing my photos during this week, and think I’ll be continuing on with the challenge.  May is exuberant and it’s proving to be a lovely month to share.

The Forget-me-not Fairy, “Flower Fairies of the Summer” Published by Blackie and Son Ltd. (My copy doesn’t have a published date, but must be nearly as old as I am).

… on a One Horse Open Sleigh!

Perhaps it’s because we are racing towards Christmas (last week of term and it’s turning into a very hectic week), or that there were model sleighs in Home Sense on Monday (and by “model” I mean huge pieces of furniture you could sit in and cost as much as a new spinning wheel!), but I keep thinking this looks like a sleigh:

sleigh

Anyway, I’m now the exceptionally happy and proud owner of an inkle loom!  It’s a very robust loom and quite large (in size it seems to be somewhere between the floor and table versions).  It’s been used for tablet weaving, so it should be a very versatile loom.  And look, the side comes off and the previous owner has been very thoughtful and threaded it up to show the longest path!

path

My fingers are itching to start using this, but I have so many projects on the go, it’ll be Christmas before I get there (which as I have the children in the morning and then the rest of the day to myself – for chilling out and doing what I want – I suspect that really will be the case)!

Anyway, tonight’s task is to dye some yarn and fibre to include in craft kits as a present for the children… so I should get back to it!

Mission Impossible

At this time of year the sun has barely risen before it is setting again, making project photography very difficult.  Today I have resorted to desk lights and daylight bulbs to take some pictures.  At other times I have boldly sneaked a finished skein of yarn into the local botanic gardens and taken pictures “on location” in the greenhouses.

However, the short days and low sun provide other opportunities.  It’s possible to see many more sunrises and sunsets than usual, and sometimes the light can be very warm and golden, making for lovely views.  In the last couple of weeks there have been some spectacular sunrises and sunsets, stretching across the whole sky. I was also very lucky to catch a parhelion, also known as a sundog (though according to atmosphere optics they are quite common).

sunset

parhelion

swans

So, other than watching the sky and feeding swans, what else have I been up to?  I’ve briefly had the sewing machine out and made something small to include in a Secret Santa swap (and as it’s secret that’s all I’ll say for the moment).  I had a dye session on Friday and a day out spinning at Creating Space yesterday.

I dyed kid mohair and BFL in the same colours, with the intention of making a bouclé yarn.

mohair

bfl

I also dyed Southdown (in blues and greens, though I’m not enamoured with the result) and Finnish (in pinks and reds).  The Finnish is lovely, very similar feel to the BFL, but a little less silky.  The Southdown is bouncy like the Dorset Horn.

southdown

finnish

Yesterday I spun my daughter’s wildcarded batts into a thick single.  I then carded three colours of Corriedale together and spun these into a thick single for plying.  Last night I decided I’d add to the experiment and threaded beads onto the thin single.

carded

wildsingle

beads

I’ve started to do a spiral ply with these, and can now appreciate the advice to use a commercial thread when adding beads.  Once added onto the single, the beads grip fairly well and are very heavy.  I only need a moderately weak spot in my single and I’ll have a scattering of beads all over the floor!

Changing Seasons

I’ve been a little too busy recently to fit any crafting in: Ravelry, work and children have all absorbed my time.  However, it’s now autumn and there are some lovely treats that come with this season.  An unexpected one I discovered yesterday while out at a local English Heritage garden with the children and my mum.  The shop was selling everlasting (Helichrysum) flowers.  I bought two bags (they seemed cheap and I had a plan about wiring them up to make a display).  When I got home I poured them into a glass bowl, where they suddenly looked very pretty and I abandoned my plan.

Today I discovered that not only do they look pretty, but they are filling my kitchen with an amazing scent.  So I unexpectedly have a bowl filled with very pretty potpourri.

potpourri

And just to bring this full circle, I really like the colours: yellow, pink, peach, almost white, purple and deep orange.  I wonder if these colours would work in a yarn?