Chocolate Free

I’ve started today’s post with no idea where it will go. I’ve been busy with lots of wonderful things and also with some not quite so wonderful things, both largely self induced. I’m wondering if my approach to living is a bit jumbled too, I think I tend to wander along with little thought as to where I’m going…although this isn’t a bad thing because I’m certainly enjoying the journey on the way.
It’s a little difficult to be more specific but I’m a great believer in the philosophy that as long as I put in the footwork, I’ll end up exactly where I’m supposed to be. My confusion is that I’m being offered lots of choices…and until I’m a little clearer about the choice I’ll make I can’t really say any more. How mysterious! And, I suspect, rather annoying for you.
Anyway, enough meandering, let’s get down to business, the important stuff of life, that which is related to yarn.
A friend has joined our spinning group; she was gifted a wheel and has been along to two groups so far. It’s wonderful to see someone fall in love with spinning and to be able to help her on her way, just a little. The other joy has been watching how we all have different things to offer; one spinner was able to give her expertise about restoring wheels, another is a skilled teacher so was able to get her started. Me? I was able to share some fibre, I have lots of fibre!
Spinning is such a meditative craft, I love sitting in a circle of women, all spinning, and chatting or just making yarn in comfortable silence. I find it inspiring, as we all do other things too, some knit, others weave, some dye yarn, we are quilters, carders, crofters…all creating our own unique art.

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That’s my most recent spinning, some Caithness fleece from Caroline that is spinning up wonderfully. I’ve dyed some too but haven’t had chance to photo that yet.

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Also in ‘show off corner’ is my most recent wrap, it’s broken twill and for sale in my Etsy shop but if it doesn’t sell soon it may well become some curtains as it is a glorious fabric. As it’s twill it’s much thicker and cushier than my previous wraps and took quite a while to get threaded – all 800 ends of it.
Finally, my knitting kit arrived, complete with cute project bag (I’m a sucker for a nice bag) from Sunday Knits, it’s lovely and feels so soft. The colours are just lovely (please excuse the very poor photo but I’m so much more interested in knitting as opposed to photographing it).

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Knitting. That is all.

I can feel myself returning to knitting and I can feel the yearning to hold some needles in my hands creeping though my veins. The first sign is trawling patterns on Ravelry, the next is actually transforming some WIPs into FOs and then I know I’m definitely resmitten (is that a word?) when I order a kit for a sweater. I came across this and fell in love with the colours and the simple slouchy design. It reminds me a little of the first hand knitted sweater I remember wearing, made by my Mum that was a ‘sloppy Joe’ 80s style in purple mohair. I absolutely loved that jumper and wore it for a long time passed the time it was fashionable, if purple mohair ever was!
I’ve finally finished my hand spun Caithness Jacob wool sweater. I’m really pleased, it’s the first thing I’ve made from fleece to final garment, including designing the pattern. It fits well and I’m looking forward to showing it off at my spinning group.

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All finished

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The latest wrap is now on its happy way to a new home. They are ever so slightly addictive, the cotton is soft and the colours just cry out to be mixed up.
I decided though, just for something different, plus to break up the metres and metres of plain weave, that I’d try something a touch more complex so threaded up the loom for a 6 shaft twill. Kitchen towels for me, I love my handwoven towels.

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I also have a new shuttle, a Bluster Bay end feed shuttle. You can see it peeking out in the corner there; it’s beeyuootiful. The wood is smooth and heavy, it makes my other shuttles look like badly made chopsticks. I don’t know if appreciation of handmade goods increases with the experience of making things oneself. I certainly love to be able to use something that has been made with care and attention. Maybe it’s to do with getting a little older and learning that care and attention are valuable and something we could all do with giving and receiving.

Just like buses…

I know, I don’t blog for ages and then you get two almost at the same time but I just wanted to share this with you

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Isn’t it pretty?
The warp I showed you (you remember, the rather large tangle of spaghetti-like yarn right at the end of yesterday’s post) is now on the loom. I wasn’t sure what colour weft to use as I wanted to make the colours pop so sampled a few ranging from pale grey to beige stone and then randomly got the idea, well not that random, more dictated by what I have in stock but allow me a little poetry, to use a mid-blue. Much better and after running it by my weaving consultant, otherwise known as Mr Knittingkitten, we thought maybe being a little braver would work even better. So I finally decided on royal blue, not a colour I’m especially fond of on its own but it works just perfectly here.

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Oops no title

I haven’t written a post for a while, since doing the Lightning Process and recovering from M.E I’ve been far too busy which is a fantastic thing to be able to write.
It’s made me consider our attitudes to things we don’t understand. I’m afraid that, while I want to be otherwise, I fall into the category of folks that, unless I’ve experienced something, I tend not to believe in it. Worse still, I can be judgemental of others who report experiences that differ from mine.
Let me show you how this applied to the Lightning Process. I had heard about this via, as I’ve probably already discussed, a relative and looked into it when I first became unwell. I dismissed it as something that worked for those who didn’t really have M.E. I was absolutely convinced that my illness couldn’t be addressed by anything less than lots of drugs, complete rest and time. Something that could be ‘taught’, as the Lightning Process Training is, especially in only three days, wasn’t ‘big enough’ to take care of something that had devastated my life in the way that M.E. had. What arrogance!
Thankfully I have recovered despite myself and the recovery, up to today, appears to be enduring. I feel better and better day by day, with the symptoms I used to experience daily now becoming a distant memory. What a joy.
So, let me tell you a little about what has been keeping me away from here.
Firstly, I have been busy with weaving. I have, maddeningly for my colleagues I imagine, had lots of annual leave to use up; so was on holiday last week and made this:

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The warp colours, like my first one, were all about Spring and they are the ones I associate with this time of year. The weft travels from black to pale grey like the way the days lengthen, very quickly in Caithness now. There were issues with the tension at the selvedges, annoyingly, but on some advice, I hemmed them and the end result was pleasing.
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At 4.6m it is a very long piece of cloth, very soft and, via my Etsy shop it already has a home.
I then worked on a wonderful commission from a wonderful friend with some gorgeous hand dyed kid mohair and silk.
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I was hoping to be able to show you more but the pics haven’t magically winged their way over from my phone to iPad yet. I’ll post them in the future when they do.
Finally I’ve started another wrap in bright reds, purples and oranges, just because, well, just because. Nothing to do with Spring or Caithness, just lovely colours like this.
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I’ll try and post more regularly, but then maybe I won’t!
PS, if anyone has noticed the annoying odd > symbols, it’s because my updated version of WordPress won’t let me ‘click’ right at the end of the text after I insert a photo but leaves these random pointy things all over, any suggestions gratefully received.
PPS don’t forget the random draw for the ebook case, either comment on the previous post or find my page, Weaving Heart, and ‘like’ the post to be entered.;

Draw!!

I have a new Facebook page to announce, especially for my weaving and to promote celebrate this I am doing a prize draw.
‘What can I win?’ I hear you cry…well, I did a little weaving over the weekend and it looked a bit like this:

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and then it became a little like this:

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It’s twill with a cotton warp and wool weft in various shades of purple. I wet finished it and thought I’d try a little fulling (felting really) via the tumble dryer. Now I would never consider putting wool into the dryer for more than a few minutes without checking on it having lost several pairs of rather lovely handknitted socks this way (feeling guilty Mr Knittingkitten??); so an hour later I lept from the sofa all of a panic expecting a 2″ by 2″ square. Fortunately it hadn’t fulled very much at all but is just nice and soft.
It has since turned into this:

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And looks like this:

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And this

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It’s an ebook case, it fits my Ye Olde Kindle and measures roughly 8″ by 5″, is lined and will have some kind of fastening eventually. Now if you would like to give it a home all you need to do is go here and then ‘like’ and ‘share’ my page or for those if you not on Facebook (I know you do exist somewhere) just write a comment on this post and you will all be entered into a draw on 30th April 2014 and the winner will receive (as long as you give me your address once I’ve contacted you!) said ebook case. Good luck!

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Multi-tasking mayhem

Now I don’t know about you but there was a time when I didn’t knit, or dye, or spin, or weave…nor did I know the difference between lambswool and llama, or warp and weft. I hardly know that person now!
After the success of my first yarn stall, I have been busy this week doing a little of everything. One of the most enjoyable aspects of doing the stall was meeting other people in the same line of ‘work’ (it’s not really work in any sense of the word but couldn’t think how else to describe it). I met a lovely person called Catherine from Travelling Yarns who sells beautiful yarn and patterns. We had a lot in common as knitters of Kate Davies patterns; she had a fabulous sheep carousel tea cosy (here) and we swooned over The Colours of Shetland. Since the Fibrefest we have exchanged a couple of emails regarding some very exciting plans, I can’t really say more at present but will keep you updated as soon as I can.
I have been busy dyeing, I need to replenish stock and also I acquired a new dye pot that enables me to dye much larger quantities.

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And this is how it looks now

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It should look gorgeous once it dry and rewound; keep an eye on the Etsy shopfor updates.
Finally the baby wrap is all finished and ready to go travelling
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What a joy to be able to do so many different things.;