Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Don't Panic but...

I'm posting again!! That's twice in one month! It is amid a post-WoolFest excitement that I'm posting but never mind! We had some fantastic weather all weekend and the Thursday night on the campsite there were some lovely clouds and the sunset was truly lovely and kept us all entertained for ages - at one stage it seemed streaked with almost fluorescent pink. And there were shapes in the clouds for us to try and identify too - top left below I sure is a footballer leaping to head the ball!

We started off well with a large group gathering without organisation on an empty pitch next to Mums camper van and this photo shows the evening off well! It was lovely to meet up again with so many familiar faces especially Kath, Becky and Carrie Anne who I'd not seen for 2 years - we will definitely have to do better next time and meet up sooner! The last ones finally called it a night around 11pm - wonder who they were? ;)
And of course we were all excited and woke up early the next day ready to hit the show!

Clockwise from top left: Tony learns Long Draw spinning,
Skye in the van, sheep shearing, the Happy Weaver,
Nadine learns hand-carding, spinning on a Great Wheel, Nadine spins on a Lendrum.

As always there were a load of animals to see and I finally managed to see the sheep shearing which was worth the wait. The lady doing it had a pen full of Rough Fell sheep (the ones with the speckled faces and horns in the feeding trough pictured below) four of which were Hogs (one year olds) and the fifth a large ram with huge spiraling horns who unsurprisingly she left until last! She really did seem to wrestle with the sheep and managed to give a full commentary with all of them other than the ram - definitely a tough job to do. There was also a lady from Denmark doing a workshop on 'Knitting directly from Spelsau fleece' who was fascinating. Pity we couldn't get on her course but we did end up leaving with a bag of raw Spelsau fleece ready to be knitted up at the next Knitting evening - I can't imagine the reaction with myself, Chris and Nadine all sat knitting from bags of fleece but it'll be fun!

Top row, left to right: Angora Rabbits, Rough Fell sheep, Katmoget
Shetland sheep, Herdwick sheep;
Centre Row, left to right: Manx Loughton sheep, Gotland sheep, Hebridean sheep;
Bottom Row, left to right: Angora Rabbit, sheared Alpacas, more Gotland sheep.

The stalls as always were a riot of colour with plenty to inspire and temp you with as always. 'Oliver Twists' were there and after seeing them at WonderWool I knew exactly what I wanted and got it - a sumptuous dyed silk brick in toasty burnt reds on oranges, yummy! I was pretty restrained with my spending coming home with only 1 fleece, some more dyes, a shetland batt, some dyed merino for some felting projects and the softest grey Alpaca/BFL lace weight from 'UK Alpaca's bargain bin - at 70p and 80p per hank I couldn't say no! The only downside to the day was the heat (I was stupidly pig-headed and insisted on wearing my hand spun Green Gable - it was not the day to wear wool!) and the crowds. The aisles do seem narrower than at WonderWool which seems to make the difference in being able to get around the show with ease but at least I wasn't hampered with tonnes of shopping - see being frugal has it's good points!

Clockwise from top left : Wensledale lock Wedding dress,
WoolFest anniversary cake, Freyalyns handspun exhibit,
Shetland 'chocolates' and 'cake', weaving, FeltStudioUK, handknit waistcoat, Oliver Twists,
WoolFest 'shed', handspun yarns.

Nadine and Chris were there from the New Brighton Knitters and I ended up going back to the show on the Saturday with Nadine before picking Chris up from her course. Its was fun going round the show with a 'novice' spinner (she is improving daily!) and seeing her face light up with it all and pointing out all the bargains and stopping her unintentionally shop lifting in Winghams although it was pointed out that most people would try to steal cashmere rather than light grey herdwick!
But for me the bits of the weekend which were most fun were spent sat at the camp site knitting and spinning with like minded people and making new crafty friends even if it did involve late nights!

All in all a really fun weekend which I'd happily do all over again as long as the temperature was turned down a bit! There has been more knitting completed and started but I'll not go into details with those now, after all that could be the basis on my next post!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In a Rut

There are times when I feel as if I'm in a bit of a rut - whether it be lifestyle-wise chasing round ad infinitum after a lively four year old or creatively. I've certainly had Cast-On Fever or Startitis lately and right now I've more WIP's than I care to think about and some of them are so silly.

Why for instance haven't I finished DD's little aran waistcoat? All that needs doing is picking up stitches for the collar, I'd converted the pattern to knitting in the round so it's not like there's much sewing up to do. I did start picking up stitches but got all in a tangle when going to answer the phone and managed to rip out all the stitches I'd picked up. It was put away in a sulk I'll admit but why I haven't finished it off which is no more than a days work I could not tell you.

And there's another jumper for DD languishing in the WIP pile due to lack of concentration - I went wrong trying to knit this at knitting group and decided to start again but again little has happened with it since. Small jumper, big wool and needles - quick project (theoretically) so what's stopping me?

Poor 'Laminaria' was started last year to take with me on holiday - fat chance that it will be ready for this years holiday in 5 weeks time. It's lovely soft Posh Yarns Cashmere which isn't exactly a hardship so if someone could lend me a brain to work with (Clarabelle shawl queen might be the one!!) then maybe this could get finished. I think this has been sat there because I'm too lazy to start thinking once little Miss has gone to bed.

And I'm half way through another pair of 'Monkeys' and my heart is not in it. I'm on the heel flap for the second sock and I just can't bring myself to knit it. Even though I know I could make short work of it once the heel is done.

Yet I've have managed to spin a small mountain of handspun, much of it Alpaca (there does seem to be a theme!) which is thanks to this new wheel which is a real production wheel - new yarn seems to just fly off it! I did volunteer to represent my guild at North Wales's 'WoodFest' which was great fun and a whole day (10am til 5pm) virtually continually spinning as well as explaining how wool was made to all the kids and answering technical questions from the men. Out of all the people we saw that day (dozens and dozens) only four correctly guessed my spinning fluff as alpaca, one little girl thought the fluff came from 'carpets'. And I'm eagerly waiting to see Winghams stock another suggestion 2 other children had: 'fox'!

I've managed to knit, and finish (until I decided I'd changed my mind and wanted it longer) a handspun version of 'Green Gable' as well as a birthday surprise for a friend, who may or may not read this hence no photos. And I did knit myself a new jumper which I'm happy with as the yarn has been sat there for ages and the project lurking on my Ravelry queue for ages - so some progress with destashing (partially as there's lots left on the cone) and working through my queue.

So right now I think my creative spirit exists for the new items I knit and not the old but soon enough I'm going to really have to bully myself into finishing things off, especially if the worse comes to the worst and I can't get to WoolFest next weekend and the Tour de Fleece looms so these lamented WIP's are really doomed!