Friday, 27 April 2012

Mixed week ...

Mixed weather - lovely to get some rain on the plants, much needed but the water table needs much more to recover, but please revert to raining at night again - a lot easier all round to know whether to put a coat on or if I'm going to end up carrying it when the sun comes out again. Ah well, mustn't grumble too much.

Started the week with Imogen not feeling well but insisting she was fine for the school trip on Monday to a wonderful gardens not too far away, Mama was a helping parent too. It was fun but wet, wet, wet. Straight to doctors on our return to school to find she needed antibiotics for an ear infection, and is quite blocked up with a cold. But she has picked up as the week has gone by.

Then Tuesday evening I felt terrible, such a sudden painful swollen throat resulting in no sleep on Wednesday night and another trip to the doctors for me and Alex (who started to get a bad throat too), so now we are all on antibiotics! Well at least we'll get it all out of the way together. I knew mine was painful but when the triage nurse looks in your mouth and goes "Argh yes, it's pretty bad" and no more need for investigating, you know it's bad.

So not a lot else going on here, no allotment or garden time - just keeping the seedlings in the greenhouse watered awaiting a break in the weather to plant them out. We have a local plant swap soon so any spares will go there and to my Dad.

Looking forward to next week, nothing really planned just looking forward to feeling more human again. We did harvest some lovely spinach, sorrel, wild garlic and other salad leaves and have been enjoying fresh salads from the garden accompanied by our Welsh onions too. Delicious.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Guild National Exhibition and my finished ring!

Oh I was a bit naughty last time, saying my entry for the exhibition was nearly finished and then showing you only the back of it! Well it's finished now and my entry has been noted on the form that I have made one. We thought the Guild were collecting them this month but it was just the names, so I have it at home still in case I want to tweak anything.

Want to see it?

Okay, no more teasing. I was going to try and take a nice photo of it outside in the sunshine, but, well the weather is rather unpredictable at the moment so every time I thought about it, it was raining. So I took a picture of it hanging up in the porch to gain the natural light. I take a picture of it outside before it goes to the guild and exhibition.

Here is my 6 inch ring - two sided

Knit and embroidered side hanging

Knitted a circle on this side with some handspun Dorset Horn sourced locally and sewed it over the edges of the wooden ring. The wooden ring came from a friend at the guild who got them from a visit to Fred Aldous (a lovely online craft store, they stock so many things). Then with some pure wool tapestry wools I created a wheel to signify the spinning wheel and did the spokes in different colours, like a colour wheel. I was very pleased with how it came out but felt it needed something else. I wanted to embroider a quote on there but couldn't find the perfect quote that was short enough to fit so I embroidered Spin the Wheel instead.

Knit side close up

Felted picture side hanging

The reverse side is needle felted with British wools. A little sheep in the field with lovely blue sky and wispy clouds. The sheep's coat is some lovely Gotland curls. I have attached this to the knitted edging of the ring using the felting needles, and added a bit of wool padding in the middle. I added a loop of  Lucet cord made with the Dorset Horn handspun too.

close up of the felted side

I'm really happy with the result, and am really looking forward to seeing it hanging at the exhibition with all the other rings that are sent in.

Talking of seeing it at the exhibition, I thought I'd share some pictures of the venue from previous visits we have made there. The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum is a wonderful place to visit - a working living museum with many buildings that have been moved there from other places in the South and rebuilt exactly as they were. They are then furnished with items from the period of the building, and have lovely displays and demonstrations of how we used to live over 6 centuries.

Part of the Weald and Downland open air museum site

We've visited several times before, always seeing new things, and experiencing new experiences. From woodcrafts, to spinning, to making natural remedies, to cooking in the Tudor kitchen where you can taste the produce. You see the way people lived, worked, gardened, and have lovely walks around the fields and into the woodland which has beautiful views and some artwork/sculptures too. There is a lovely working watermill, grinding wheat to produce lovely flours which you can purchase, a lovely lake full of rather well fed fish and ducks!
Art in the woodland
Around the site there are many animals too including some lovely South Down sheep, Tamworth pigs and Shire Horses - they have horse and cart rides you can go on too. We always take a picnic but there are a couple of places to get refreshments. We have spent many a happy day there exploring, lots of lovely open spaces to explore, run around and much to experience.

 Southdown Ewe and lamb relaxing in the sunshine
Weald Down from the lake

At the top of the site is the Gridshell - a lovely modern building which just fits in lovely with the surroundings as the outside is Oak laths bent into shape - where the exhibition will be (I assume it will all mainly be in there). It's a lovely long open light building so will be a delight to see all the exhibits in there.

 Inside the Gridshell building

For anyone who doesn't already know, the exhibition is the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers running from 16th-27th July 2012. On the 22nd it is also the Rare Breeds show, so a bonus if you visit on that day - lots of lovely sheep, other aneimals, woolly goodness and  other craft and countryside delights. They pride themselves in giving priority to handmade/local products and exhibitors who also demonstrate their crafts, so lots to see and be tempted by. As well as entries of animals at the show, there are craft and spinning entries too - good for some inspiration maybe!

See you there maybe.

Demonstrations at the Weald and Downland open air museum

Friday, 20 April 2012

Guild weekend

Woo hoo, it's a guild meeting this weekend. I have the newsletter printed and ready to distribute, will be there early to help set up and looking forward to catching up with friends.

On the menu this week is a News and Views session followed by a sharing of knowledge and skills on preparation on fibres for spinning. Always fun to attend these and see what tips you can pick up from others. So I shall get packing up my bag later with some fibres, my hand carders, flick carder and whatever else I can fit in.

In the afternoon we are welcoming a visitor for a talk - Fiona Morris: Designing and working with Handspun, where she will "explain how to use the yarn you have spun to its best advantage in knititng. I bring along a number of samples and items made from handspun yarn."

Looking forward to a good day.

I shall also be taking my ring for the exhibition as they are being collected together tomorrow. Can you wait until Sunday to see a picture? Hope so as I am trying to dodge the showers to get a nice picture of it outside in daylight, not that easy with the varied weather we are having at present. One minute you can be walking with a t-shirt and sunglasses on, the next you need full waterproofs, wellies and somewhere to shelter from the hailstorms!

See you Sunday with pictures, have a lovely weekend everyone.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Crafts and Spring clean ...

Well not really a spring clean, but a little spring cleaning of the blog (alright I'll get back to decluttering the house too!). But I keep looking at the list of blogs I've clicked follow in the past and some don't exist anymore, others I just never read anymore but it takes a while to check them and then edit to stop following, but I'm trying to do it now. Don't worry, none of my favourite and regularly visited blogs will go - phew, glad I pointed that out quickly! Plus I've discovered lovely new (to me) blogs on fibre crafts, spinning and sheepy blogs that are a great read and inspirational too so something needed to change.

So onto crafts. This week I have been mostly working on my entry to the National Exhibition for the Association of WSD - a 6 inch ring displaying work using fibre or yarn of any craft.

Before I share some pictures of that though, and whilst I have your attention, I want to share with you a lovely blog and a very generous blog giveaway over here at My Handmade Haven. I have watched Shell's blog(s) grow over a few years, a lovely mama and crafter who has turned her love of crafting into an online business and she also now attends several craft fairs in her area. Do go and take a look at her shop, she makes and sells some lovely things, some personalised and takes commissions; and is now stocking craft supplies too including lovely 100% wool felt at a great price! If you haven't used 100% woolfelt before, well where have you been! It's wonderful stuff and the colours Shell is stocking are great, She is stocking other lovely things in the shop too.

Right, back to my exhibition ring. It's nearly finished - needs to be by Friday night as it's going to the Guild meeting on Saturday. Knitted and embroidered with tapestry wool on one side and then embroidered with some cotton embroidery threads too; needle felted on the other. I was going to combine wet and dry felting but in the end stuck to just the needles. So far it looks like this ...

Ah, but that's just the reverse! You'll have to wait to see the fronts! Although some of it is revealing itself in these pictures.

Back later in the week to share the full reveal. Also in this picture is my Inkle loom which has sat unused for long enough and will hopefully be in use this week. Nothing like a deadline on something to make you get something else out to start another project is there?
Or is that just me (*?!?!).
I will get the ring finished first, honest.

See you soon, now go and see Handmade Haven and enter the wonderful giveaway.

Oh and to Claire and Shell, ahem, a thousand apologies - the giveaway parcels will be in the post tomorrow (quietly sloping off, embarrassed by how long it has taken to get them in the post but I forgot to take them out a couple of times and then the Easter holidays, sorry no excuse really)

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Well ...


I am still here, enjoying the holidays with family. Lots going on, fun, days out, days in, crafts, tending to seedlings, seeing Imogen create - stories, drawings, endlessly creative, and more. I've uploaded a few images from our days.

 Easter egg hunts
 Visiting the past
 Greeting new life, baby goat
 Running the maze
Finding beauty in the gardens

Normal service (if I have one?) will be resumed shortly on the blog!

In the meantime just popped by to say hello , hope you are all having a lovely time too.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Wet? ... for a little while

I'm still a little curious what that wet stuff was that fell from the sky yesterday? Anyone know what it was? It's a mystery, something not seen in these parts for ... I can't remember how long. Still wasn't enough though, but I see there is a lot in some parts of the country and even (shhhh) snow!

Anyway, it's welcome for the plants, although it means the weeds will grow a little more too.

I shall be blogging over on Spinspiration today with a little spinning, or something, not sure what really but hey if you like anything woolly, come and join us with some chat and sharing of skills for Woolly Wednesday.
 Blossoming Pear tree

I have just spent a chunk of the morning outside taking in the beauty of trees and plants growing and blossoming. More on those another day.
 Seedlings in need of attention

My other task for today was planting on some rather leggy seedlings from the windowsill - a downside to windowsill seed germination - but they are already looking healthier and happier in their cells and pots. I still have some more to do either later or tomorrow but lunch beckoned me inside for a while.
 Lots of seedlings planted on
Achocha seedlings planted on last week

I now have one of the windowsill trays completely empty though so more seeds to sow.

Imogen has been busy this morning with setting some mathematics challenges around patterns for me! I then made some up for her. She's also been writing a story/script for a film she is making (a little project she has going on - all her own thinking and planning!); and also several drawings, plus other playing. What a busy little bee she is.

She has really "bitten the maths bug" at the moment and is very good at thinking logically and solving challenges and puzzles - we printed some off the internet yesterday and did some from a book off the bookshelf and she was excellent at it. I think the interest stemmed from a recent challenge school set her to see if her maths was as good as they thought it was; and it was - the words astounding and amazing were passed onto me from the deputy head when I was helping out on the same day with an Easter Egg hunt in the school grounds. What a little star, she loves it and wants to learn more, and that's what's important.

Right, I really must get on with writing something for Woolly Wednesday, see you there if you fancy popping along.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Oops ...

Oops I have been a bad blogger haven't I!
I'm sorry. But I/we have been busy in my absence, I could tell you all about the Spring beauties popping out - the daisies, the celandine's, the fruit blossoms, Spring flowers, some early Summer ones too, the bluebells - yes the bluebells in March, what's that about. Mind you they were flowering early last year, and very few to be seen by May when they are traditionally in flower.

Celandines, Daisies and Bluebells photographed early March

I could tell you about the succession of seedlings, tomatoes, salads, leafy veg and much much more ... growing on windowsills, in the greenhouse, in the garden and at the allotment. Must take a photo of how the Medlar is growing so lovely too.

 Seedlings and tomato seedlings below - all moved on from these pictures taken early in March
more seedlings now in their places
 Broad Beans growing lovely (yes, and the weed seedlings - must Hoe!)
Planting shallots - knowing which way is up and which way is down

I could tell you about some spinning, some crafts for the National Guilds exhibition later in the year (hmmm I can see a post forming about that one soon) and fibre craft plans; working on other things for the Guild, the latest newsletter and more.

I wanted to share a picture of the fantastic turn out at the Guild meeting recently -disguised to protect identities (a lot of people to ask permission otherwise!) I like this effect, there were about 80 members here.

Lots of things going on, great days out, things at school too in preparation for Easter and the end of the half term, fun parties and wonderful weather.
 Alex playing with the Ukelele jam at a local theatres 1st birthday event
 At the wheel of the Oceanography centres research ship
 Ocean and Earth open day at the Oceanography centre - fun day for Alex and Imogen whilst I was at the Guild. Will be looking out for this event again next year.
 I'll just take her for a spin around the Solent!
Bowling for a friends birthday party

It's a little cooler this week but still quite hot today and plenty of sunshine. We really need some rain here in the South but it is nice having such dry days. Maybe we can arrange for it to only rain at night when we're sleeping, yes that works for me.

 Days in the garden, play,  picnics and story telling and writing
Always writing ...sometimes we tire ourselves out!

School holidays now, so probably will be out and about with Imogen enjoying the time together in the sunshine, will catch up here and there when I can.

Oh and the other thing I have to do tomorrow (hopefully, as I forgot to take them the other day) is take the parcels for the winners of my recent giveaway - sorry ladies - these will be on their way to you soon though.

Hope everyone is having fun, catch up with you soon!