Visit to Wales and New Fleece

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A recent holiday to Wales we stayed at Brecon close to the National Park.  Sheep everywhere wandering around the roads feeding the lambs and holding up the traffic.  I made several enquiries about buying a fleece and eventually I got directions form a lovely lady in a wood shop about an industrial estate that distributed the fleece throughout the UK, I wondered if they would sell one to a loan spinner

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Here is my new mate who spent so much time finding different fleeces to compare and  select the best for spinning

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Here it is laid out on the lawn back home nicely skirted and quite clean full of lanolin

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Check out the staple length and the beautiful crimp

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He couldn’t tell me the breed of sheep except it is a cross, now I am starting to spin it it feels beautiful

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Carded and ready to spin.  Two of the beautiful Welsh sheep happy to be relived of their coats now Summer has finally arrived!

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Kaffe Fasette Exhibition

The Kaffee Fasette Exhibition is currently on at the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey Street London.Kaffe Fassett Exhibition 031

Kaffe Fasette was born in 1937 in California USA Attended Art College in Boston and has worked as an Artist in New York and California In 1964 he travelled to the UK and visited Scotland and was inspired by the colours of nature and the weaving and spinning of the Scottish wool, he met a lady on the train on his journey back to London who taught him to knit, by the time he arrive he was away with colours and yarns spinning in his head he was on the verge of his life changing experience and new career.Kaffe Fassett Exhibition 016

A plethora of patchwork greeted us in rich and vibrant colours inspired by his trips to the EastKaffe Fassett Exhibition 006

Simple and elegant designsKaffe Fassett Exhibition 020

A stunning hand knitted coatKaffe Fassett Exhibition 029

A room setting in low light to preserve the fabric but also added atmosphere Kaffe Fassett Exhibition 026

Canvas work inspired by an English Country Garden such vibrant colours

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Kaffe Fassett Exhibition 017    Four more beautiful quilts in dramatic colours some good enough to eatKaffe Fassett Exhibition 009 Kaffe Fassett Exhibition 021

A stunning cushion and three beautiful hand knitted coats The Exhibition is on till 29 June, you can discover more here http://ftmlondon.org/Kaffe Fassett Exhibition 027

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Hyde Hall

A few weeks ago we paid a visit to RHS Hyde Hall Beautiful hillside Essex Garden belonging to the Royal Horticultural Society.Hyde Hall April 2011 079  Hyde Hall April 2011 061We were lucky enough to find that the Fritillaries were in full bloom and creating a river of colour between two row of  daffodils.  It was such  a rare and beautiful day we were able to sit on the grass to take our photos and felt like two careless children ….. until we tried to stand up again 😉Hyde Hall April 2011 048

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Our visit was in April and due to the wet and cold winter the spring flowers were not in abundance but here you can see the most beautiful Dogwood with it’s bright red stems and the lime green leaves just breaking surrounded by heathers making a beautiful combination of colour. Hyde Hall April 2011 031 One small flower  just peeping through in the woodland garden was this very special Erythronium, so close to the ground and tucked away I nearly missed it.

How Hyed Hall has changed since we first visited over 20 years ago when it was left to the RHS.  More recently a new Visitor Centre has been built at the bottom of the hill and a free buggy will transport you to the top if you are unable to make the gradient.Hyde Hall April 2011 070

        One last shot of the fritillaries

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And a Hellebore!

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Spitalfield Market

A London land market, Spitalfield Market is located quite close to Liverpool Street Station. We visited there whilst the Celebrations of the achievements of the Huguenot Silk weavers was taking place and also the ‘Big Weave’ which was a community event where anyone who wished to could take part and contribute to the art works. Spitalfield Market 007

A table set up with rag weaving on paper plates a modern take on the old raffia mats I used to make at school (back in the day)Spitalfield Market 001

This was an antique loom the lady operating it had never used a loom before (Strange!!!) bits kept falling off but with string and patients we got it working it was 8 shaft so ideal for patterned work.Spitalfield Market 015 This lady had a modern 8 shaft loom and was working a way creating a beautiful piece of cloth, similar to the jacket she is wearing in the picture.Spitalfield Market 019  Lots of beautiful yarns available to buy this This was called The Good Yarn Stall and these shown are by ColinetteSpitalfield Market 021   Maggi selects ribbon yarn for her weaving.  It was a great day out with lots to see and plenty of inspiration for more projectsSpitalfield Market 041  On the way home we were treated to a performance by the Morris Men always a sight to behold!

A GREAT DAY OUT IN LONDON MUST DO IT MORE OFTEN

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Sheep to Shoulder

 

Some time ago I was given a raw fleece, I was a complete novice as to how to treat it but with lots of help from friends on Ravelry and friends at the Southend Guild of Dyers Spinners and weavers I have managed to follow the process through to a completed project.Fleece 004

Here is the Raw Fleece and I am picking out the best bits and discarding the Dags (poo) note the disposable gloves. Knitting 003

This is some of the first spun wound into skeins.

An event held at the garden of a Guild member resulted in a communal dyeing so many beautiful colours of fleece, and spun yarn also silk in raw state and spun.Homespun  fleece from Rita

Here is the Loom I was given for my birthday as you can see warped up with natural cream which was a commercial fibre also the same fibre hand dyed, but the weft is mainly my own hand spun from the original fleece and dyed and the garden party.Knitting 045          I find that mixing colours  is unpredictable and the results can be fascinating and quite exciting, here is a selection of colours I have usedKnitting 054

And now the finished article !Knitting 041    A useful and functional cushion perfectly co-ordinated to go in the caravan.

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A day at the Zoo

I am not very keen on Zoos, but as I can’t get to all these exotic places to see these beautiful animals in their natural habitat the Zoo is the next best thing. Paradise Park is in Hertfordshire, quite a small concern but beautifully kept. It is a teaching and breeding Zoo all the keepers we spoke to were helpful and knowledgeable.Paradise Park 124

This guy in particular opened the Avery for us so we could go in and interact with the Lorikeets, he in fact was not a keeper but the builder who built the Avery and painted the murals’ on the walls. Paradise Park 101He gave us little pots of nectar which made the birds very friendly towards us 😉

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We

These were three Cheater brothers from a litter of seven borne in a Swedish Zoo, they had a good sized paddock and we were able to go onto a platform overhanging the run to get a first class view at feeding time

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My favourites of the day were these little otters who ran around as one unit they thought we had food for them, I wish we had better weather and light and I would have got lots of pictures of them they were soooooo delightful.

Now here is one for my special friend who like all good wolfies is sleeping with one eye openParadise Park 081

We had a good day even though it rained most of the time and the skies were grey and light poor, here is a selection of some more of the animals we saw.

Paradise Park 140Paradise Park 085Paradise Park 015 This old boy seems to be looking for something, well his mate was in the next paddock and she was calling to him.

 

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Squirrel High on Magic Mushrooms

It seems that Spring is on it’s way with more activity from the birds and squirrels in the garden. We have a dead cherry tree just outside our window, which has a beautiful climing rose clinging to it a wonderful sight in June. The tree being dead is an ideal place for these bracket fungi to grow, I have never seen squirrels eat this type of food before, I juat hope it has no ill effects on him.

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Weaving around my Life

I was lucky enough to get a loom for my Birthday, now the last time I did any weaving was at school and it was a mess.  Having seen weaving works of art by my friends at the Dyers Spinners and Weavers Guild I thought I may like to try my hand at it again!Knitting 054 We put it together last Saturday, somthing I was determind to do myself but needed a bit of man power to tighten the screws etc, but it all went together quite well. This is a Kromski Harp, which I think is made in Poland, the importers are in the USA and I bought it from Wingham Wools in Rothereham South Yorksire.  I have no idea if this product went from Poland to US then to UK, but they delivered it within 3 days of placing the order.

Knitting 051 I had no idea how to get started but with all the help on the internet video tutorials, particularly good are the New Voyager vids http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptH7ZhopsoE&list=UUr_0xa80mEpfaw8GmV8bptw&index=3     and the Ashford Vids http://www.ashford.co.nz/newsite/tutorials/weaving-video-tutorials     I also used the Ashford book of Weaving which was very clear with a step by step guide.

Knitting 056Warping the loom seemed a bit scary but by carefully following the instructions it was soon done and the weaving started, I used yarn from my stash that I didn’t feel precious about 😉 So a bit bright, maybe I can find a football supporter who would like it.  Peter said he wasn’t ecxpecting something so bright for his next suit ;-). More to follow on this one I think!

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Warley Place

Warley Place, once a very famous Edwardian garden belonging to Ellen Willmott, is now maintained as a nature reserve by Essex Wildlife  Trust. Warley Place 003

It is famous for it’s spring flowers, mainly daffodils, but first we have the Snowdrops, here they are lining the approach.

Warley Place 007 Clusters of them nesteling in amoungst tree roots and individuals making a statement

Warley Place 010Crocus are starting to appear again now, at one time these beautiful flowers were in abundance and I recall as a child racing to the top deck of the bus so we could see them in all their glory.  They were wiped out by a virus but they are now being replanted and add to the rich diversity of the gardens.Warley Place 013Warley Place 021  The walled garden provides protection and here the beautiful Honesty plant has been protected from the ravages of winter with the silvery membrane still intact.

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Plenty of places to stop and rest and enjoy the Winter sunshine.

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And anticipate the hearald of spring with a few eary arrivals.  A few more weeks and a little sun and warmth and this garden will be a carpet of gold. until then we can sit and enjoy the Snowdrops Warley Place 008

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Winter Wonderland

Garden February 002Just when we tought all the snow was finished with, this is what I woke to this morning, very pretty but cold.  Still it’s mid February so it can’t last long now, I think we deserve a long hot Summer 😉

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