Archive for May 21st, 2007

In her last couple of podcasts Alex, from Lixie Knits It, has been playing with the idea of a yarn calculator. The idea is, you count up all your yarn, key it in and press a button … the calculator (she had a cool name for it but I can’t remember it) tells you how long it will take you to knit up your stash! Would it work for fibre? I hate to think how many hours my stash is up to.

I did a little bit rather a lot of stash enhancement in the fibre department on the weekend such that I am having to get creative about storage solutions (behind the bathboard?) and how to find more spinning hours (5pm caffeine injection). If you have any bright ideas they are very welcome.

Here is yesterday’s spinning (Corriedale from Spunky Eclectic):


And today’s (BFL from Fyberspates):


Sadly, weekdays are for knitting and I have deadlines there too, so it will be back to the purple cables.

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This is going to be a long one, so grab a cuppa and settle comfortably!

The weekend began with finally meeting up with Jan, a dear friend of my mother’s who I’d only met briefly years ago and have been getting to know over past months through email and phone calls. We immediately hit it off and could have talked all night if we hadn’t been conscious of a 6am wake-up call! After an early start and a long drive Saturday morning we arrived in Builth Wells and found the showgrounds, only having got lost once.

The first thing I saw as I walked in the door was the Great Wheel. The first spinning wheel invented, I had always been interested in seeing one  and finding out how it works (I won’t go into long detail here, I’ll do an article one day).


I got a chance to have a go and it was amazing to feel the connection with spinners from hundreds of years ago.
Jan and Meg needed to check in at the Coloured Sheep Breeders stand so we went there next and then I was let loose to wander around the stalls and chat (and shop!) at will.

I was on the lookout for a Bosworth spindle and information on weaving. I found both together at Willow Close Studio where Carole was very helpful in answering all my questions. I fell in love with a 20g spindle made from Morado wood and headed immediately to Fybrespates to get something to spin on it!

I may have had some small part in influencing Jennifer’s surprisingly similar purchase ;-)


Here is my new baby wearing a pink cashmere sweater (all arty shots courtesy of Jan’s lovely back garden)


Other items were gradually ticked off my list as the day went on: I caught up with Kerrie and had a chance to goo at the new baby; I met some lovely ladies selling knit/felt kits and had long chats about small business in the fibre industry; I took photos of sheep for my mobile phone wallpaper :-D; I discovered Bib and Bob and fell in love (Bib (on the right) is moving to Australia soon to live at Kurrajong Farm). 


We left around 6pm for the long drive home during which Meg told me all about solar dyeing and convinced me that it is hopeless to resist the call to play with colour any longer. I’m planning to catch up with her soon for a more in-depth lesson.

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On Sunday we still had plenty on the program. Jan’s guild was demonstrating at an open day at Ufton Court mediaeval manor: we popped by there to catch up with the ladies and squeezed in a quick tour of the house as well.  


Then we headed up to our final stop for the weekend, a visit to the studio of weaver Mary Kinipple. Mary often weaves with handspun which she has dyed with natural dyes. I was amazed at the colours she is able to produce.     


Her loom is warped for a handspun blanket, dyes include madder, woad, indigo, walnut, bloodroot, and more that I have forgotten. She gave me a couple of oddments of yarn which will become a highly treasured little memento project.

I was very sad to finally be heading for Newbury station and having to say goodbye, but Jan’s not too far away and it will be easy to pop down regularly for visits where we can spin, dye, weave and of course chatter, to our hearts’ content! 

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