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Archive for the ‘crochet’ Category

Over the last couple of days we have been tackling the room of doom aka the spare room.

‘Spare’ makes it seem surplus to requirements – not so – we have both worked from home in that room, it is the main storage area of our home dyed wool, in various stages of  process, our dvd and cd library, and alas, a general dumping area.

The cats, Molly and Pete have been helping.  And by helping I means curling up and lying down in the middle of everything  – in Pete’s case, and playing happy adventures climbing through the loom and over teetering boxes with glee in Molly’s.

But, after many days, lots of sorting out, being ruthless, building shelves and reorganising, we now have a large space in the middle of the room – revealing the hideous swirling brown and orange nightmare carpet we inherited in all its ‘glory’.  One day we shall change it.. but it seems far down the priority list at the moment.

Ultimately our plans are to make a study / craft room.  With a big table to sew/model/craft at, my desk an paperwork mountain in the corner,  a little wood burner installed in the fireplace, the sofa bed will double as guest sleepage, and a chair so we can spin or weave or  knit or craft and keep each other company as we craft , listening to the radio or music etc.  I did wonder if I had over subscribed the room with too many uses, but now we have shifted everything about, it actually seems possible, as it is a large room, and all that shelving takes advantage of the high ceilings.   (Why do we have high ceilings upstairs and low ceilings downstairs?)

but before we play musical tables and set ourselves up there, we have to tackle our son’s room – or more to the point the floor – which is decidedly bouncey and if anything like the floor that came with the room of doom, the joists  will have been eaten by the delightful death watch beetle, and will need replacing – with all that that entails.

So – we have been opening boxes of things not yet unpacked since we moved in, and making decisions and freecycling etc, because the floor of my son’s room needs replacing. you know how it is.

There is a goal at the end of all this hard graft, and it is that craft room, with the wood burner and sofa and all the craft things… and then no doubt the room of doom will become the room of loom.

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Somehow, something has always cropped up to prevent us going to fibrefest, but this year we actually made it.

Just for one morning.. which was long enough for me to ‘accidentally’ buy some alpaca fibre for spinning.. and some pretty blue faced Leicester yarn.. himself bought a loom….  So now, with the looms we have been given by generous friends and neighbours, and the toy one I found in the charity shop… we are a four loom family.  Spose we had better do some actual weaving…

Fibrefest was great – full of people with similar mindset, and there were lots of sheep and alpacas to look at, and fibre to fondle. And we bumped into lots of folk we know from various knitting/downsizing groups. Ideal.

Home to lots of harvesting.. The beans have grown like mad with our trip away.. and we picked loads and loads.. and spent many hours slicing, blanching and freezing.  Six hours of harvesting beans.. I think I have bean slicers thumb!  (Hope it does not interfere with knitting and crochet !)

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I seem to have got a bit into a muddle.. and lost my rules of only so many projects on the go at once. Problem is dabbling in trying to make things that might sell.. that and a distinct lack of time all round.  I feel lamb-lagged from the night checks etc…

But enough excuses.

In knitting we have:

  1. the recycled cardi project – nearly there.. just need to sew up and sort out something for the collar..
  2. noro jumper – on the second side
  3. bluey-browny socks – I started them in the hope of finishing in time for that winter festival thingy.. but didn’t (in my defence I did manage a few things!) so maybe be done in time for next year..
  4. blue and turquoise jumper for son – part of my goals for 2010 – he wants blue – I want to see him in a different colour for a change..we compromised.
  5. blue and green homespun jumper – so far only dyed some of the wool.

and in crochet:

  1. lets get ready to scrumble – still enjoying it – but it’s not for when you have a lack of sleep addled brain..
  2. natural dye granny cushion.  We have been having fun over the last couple of years trying different natural, locally available dyes on our own wool.. now to do something with the stash
  3. red and yellow cushion – not sure of the design yet – but something cheery and cosy for the living room.

There – sorted. now really.. how long could it all take…..? Only 8 WIP at any one time.. and the experimenting with making things to sell.. .. and washing the fleeces.. and dyeing.. and making lovely coloured batts of wool… and its spring and the lambs are here and time to organise some weaners and dig the garden ..and educate my boy….and sell some eggs…and sow thousands of seeds… and renovate the house.. and…

pah.. should be a doddle… 😀

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Nothing of any import to report today.. I didn’t achieve much, just ambled through it.  People seem to gauge other people by what they do  – and by this they mean for a job.  I’m fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with my son, who is disabled, and educate him, and fit the rest of life around that.

So today we watched part of a DVD The six wives of Henry VIII, which is aimed at adults and really interesting – particularly for my son who still regards Henry VIII as his all time favourite person from history.  We have just got as far as Anne Boleyn losing her head…

Then a break, and I check the animals, taking beet shreds to the sheep, who attempt to trample me, in a loving way!, to get to the food.  Collect eggs, check on hen with crusty looking eye.. check everyone else looks ok.  Attempt  and fail to catch said chicken.

Still, it’s exercise.  Back to home ed, and we walk to bus stop, catch bus, walk to swimming pool, swim, lunch and home. Son reads his library book, I go chicken catching again.  Sneak up on chicken on blind side and make captive, bathe eye.. chicken opens eye sees me and gives me hard stare.  Alvin the cockerel was giving me what for too, but he doesn’t do more than cluck a lot.

Feed sheep again, then inside to ponder what we shall eat for tea  – decide it will be based on eggs and the hog’s pudding I bought at the butchers.  Prep half a pig’s head for cooking, inspect the latest onion skin dyeing (fifth dip in the pot and still a good yellow), ponder the next dye pot scheme, wash some fleece and start dyeing it. 

Now, I’m writing this, then shall eat the fry up for tea (hogs pudding, poached eggs, mushrooms and beans – himself is cooking), before settling down in front of fire for some crochet and knitting.

So – how was your day?

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Still lots of the white stuff around – but mostly green.  Everything is so wet and muddy.. and depressing. or maybe I’m just suffering from January blues…

Talking of blues, I finished this blue and purple cushion yesterday – my latest interest is the blending of colours, at carding or plying stages..

Devon Closewool wool, home dyed and spun. There’s been a lot of indoor time lately.  Could have spent it on DIY, but always good to indulge in a little colour therapy.

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Now it is safe to mention the presents I have made for Christmas:

A red and purple crocheted cushion – our own wool, we dyed and carded it together to blend from one to the other.  Quite pleased with how it came out.

Another cushion, this time from the fleece from the ram we borrow (no we did not cut it off the ram!, they gave us the fleece) made into a present.  A bit more garish than I wanted, but I am still pleased with the results.

A stocking filler – a snowman washcloth  (pattern here)

socks for himself.  I had promised myself I wouldn’t do more than one colour in the round, but somehow ended up doing this. Made up the pattern as I went along.  The heel has all the yarn carried over, which makes for a thick padded heel.. himself approves.

and finally, the granny square blankie I made for my lad.. with mostly blue.. it always has to be blue….

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I’m trying to clear some of my knitting projects so I can begin in some things for that winter festival thingy.

so one of the recent finishes is this merino scarf for himself.  We bought the rovings, and  he spun it, and I knitted it up using a Moebius pattern.  I’m assured its very snuggly.

I have to confess we bought the wool without really thinking it through, and I am not entirely sure of its origin.  Since then I made the connection between merino and mulesing.  Merino is not produced in the UK, most of it comes from New Zealand and Australia.  New Zealand have largely phased the practice out, but Australia actually went back on their promise – they had said the practice would be phased out by 2010 – but this year decided they wouldn’t do that after all.

We do dock our lambs’ tails – and not everyone agrees to that.  However, using the rubber rings really does not seem to cause them any pain.  The lambs bound away unconcerned. We do it as a prevention against flystrike, which is the reason given for mulesing.  However that is a particularly nasty and painful thing to do to a lamb, it takes them up to four weeks to heal, and if there was any doubt, one quick look at the gory pictures available is enough to convince.. and it is certainly not worth doing for a nice yarn.

Given that it is possible to produce merino from countries not practicing mulesing, it does not seem necessary.

So I have decided,  (wool stash aside) I am no longer going to buy merino, or any yarn, unless I am fairly sure it did not come from sheep that might have had to suffer this mutilation.  This won’t be easy.. for example, China buys a lot of wool from Australia, and they export it as yarn to other countries. But really, we should be buying locally anyway, so this will only be the occasional treat purchase.

I’m also going to extend this to any bought clothes that might contain wool  – though many stores are taking their own action

So.. stepping away from the soapbox..

Currently I am knitting:

  1. a noro jumper (yes I doubt its ethical.. but  have the yarn now..)
  2. jumper from recycled yarn (how good am I)
  3. multicoloured jumper (ok its been on the needles for years, but all scraps of yarn.. so good me)
  4. yellow socks (bought sock yarn.. must pay more attention when I buy more)
  5. secret can’t tell you ( no sheep were hurt in the making of this secret)

and I am crocheting

  1. granny square throw (stash yarn)
  2. scrumble something (coldharbour mill scrap yarns  – so that’s local and recycling!)

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