Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Garden, more books, Spindles and spinning, and other home crafts

What fabulous weather! Its like the summer we never had last year. Or maybe its our summer for this year, so I am determined to enjoy every minute of it. I haven't been blogging as much, even fleeting visits to Ravelry, because I've taken up gardening. So, between the spinning and gardening, I actually haven't made anything in ages.

At the moment my garden is a mess, but it is a genuine Work
in Progress. I do apologise to my neighbours for the unsightly black fabric/cardboard and seaweed coverings, (especially those trying to sell there houses!). But as I'm going au natural, organic and all that, this is the only way to go. It is hard going getting a garden started, takes up a lot of time, but once I have the beds established, it shouldn't be so hard. Less digging thats for sure! I have started a course at the local Community Organic Garden, just 3 hrs a week, but its great. Great for learning, chatting, and getting free cuttings. As well as the herbs and veg I've started a dye/fibre garden. So, as this blog is supposed to be all about textiles, I will only bore you with the dye-garden. So far I have planted rhubarb, goldenrod, marigold, teasels....

More Books
I am a book worm, in fact I would say its my only serious addiction. So when I came across a fellow Irish Raveler selling these books, I just had to have them. 2 books on Freeform Knitting and Crochet, a book on felt, and a Prudence Maplestone Never Enough Handbags! Then along comes another offer. Natural Dyeing, by Jackie Cook, I have a copy of this book from the library, which I have renewed and renewed for the past few months. Hogging it is an understatement! Then Laura, of Aran Brew fame, spotted it for 5euro in Borders bookshop in Dublin. Being such a lovely lass she got it for me, and posted it down. Thank you!

Spindles and Spinning
At least I'm back spinning again. We have all recovered from our various sicknesses, and I can spin away to my hearts content. Thought I am confining it to one room, just to stop the bits getting everywhere. I finally got my DIY spindles finished. I got a small branch of ash, and whittled it down to fit onto the spindles. Slightly tapering it so the spindles would fit snugly. The great thing about my whorls, is one stick fits all, so I got to practise with the different weights. Now I know it depends on what fibre you are using, but my favourite is the disk whorl on the left. For the fibre I was using it spun really smoothly.

So, as I said I'm back spinning again. Out came my spinning wheel, and I finished off the brown roving I got from Kerry Woollen Mills, and I then started using the merino/silk mix I got from Stephannie of The Yarn Room.

After the rough, tough Kerry fibre, the silk/merino was just lovely, but needed a a good twist, and I'm not sure if I did it tight enough. I just made it 2ply, maybe next time I will make 3ply. Then, it occurred to me, what will I make with my first lot. The bobbly- uneven-over-under-twisted-first-ever-hand-spun yarn. Its too rough to make clothes out of it. It wouldn't look good as a hat either. So, humming and hawing, not wanting my lovely first born homespun to end up as garden string, I decided to make it int a coiled basket.

One of my favourite books is the Complete How-To Book of Indiancraft, by W.Ben Hunt. or as I call it my how to be an Indian book. This book is great, full of everything from beading to weaving, totem poles to ti pees. There is a basket weaving technique for making Coiled Grass Baskets, using Lazy Squaw Stitch. I have made one before and they are easy enough. I've just started the base, and will gradually add all my spinning mishaps to it.

Home Crafts
Since I didn't really have anything new and finished to show off, here is some other projects I have done. Over the past year I have been doing up my son's room. Trying to make it more enticing for him to stay in bed in the mornings, (what a surprise, it isn't working). For some reason its my favourite room in the house. Blue is probably my favourite colour, I have to admit I like having a boy for this reason..

This is a foam protection cushion thing, I made for his bed. He's a mover and shaker, even when he is asleep, and so was constantly bumping his head.

It runs the length of the bed with ties on each end to keep it in place. Its very light and I even bring it with me when I'm staying in someone elses house, so I don't get woken up with cries about bumps in the night!

This is a lovely old stool, that had the most disgusting rotten fabric covering on it. Someone was throwing it out and I took it in. I had plans to sand and varnish it, but me being me never got round to it. Instead I kept the distressed look, simply stripped away the old fabric and foam and covered it with some fabric I got from the remnants box. No sewing involved, simply staple-gun the fabric over some fresh foam, (leftover from a foam protection cushion thing), onto the original board

So, now its sorting and packing because I'm off to the wilds of Mayo for the weekend, for toddler to be doted on by his granny, and for me to be blissfully ignored...I normally bring some handiwork with me, but this time I'm not bringing anything. Just a few books, so I can chill, read, and probably drink a lot of wine..

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