This week I have been setting my mind to writing instructional books and getting all of the templates ready. The plan is to have books written on spinning, weaving, knitting and crochet by the end of the year, all ring bound for easy use and on card for hardiness!
This week I have been writing the 4 Shaft Table Loom, Spinning and Fleece Processing booklets in readiness for the summer. It's been going really well and I've only got to take the photos for the fleece processing booklet to go!
Unfortunately with shearing being so late this year, we are only just getting the fleeces to start dyeing and carding to sell!!!
This week we went to the South of England Show for the second time. This show was a complete dud for me! There were loads of people, but just not buying from me or anyone in my tent!!!
The weekend was made much better though, from the amount of local smallholders wanting to find a home for their fleeces, which I am always open to! I also saw a lady I met last year who said she was so inspired by my passion for weaving, that she had bought her own Ridged Heddle loom, and was now looking for a 4 Shaft to progress to. I have never been so pleased to see a returning customer in my life! It's so nice to know that you've changed someone's life in that way! She was also a Circular Sock Machine Knitter, and I'm having real trouble setting mine up, so she gave me some tips and communities to look into on Facebook. The weekend wasn't a total loss after all!
This week was a new event for us at Nonsuch Park. It was run by Classic Events and was brilliant. The weather was wonderfully hot, and we had been placed under the only oak trees in the entire field, giving us a lovely amount of shade! We gave classes in spinning throughout the day and demonstrations on weaving. We know we made another spinner in the world as we sold a wheel to a lady from Lincoln so there is one more of us in the world now!
We weren't planning on staying at the event, I had my small campervan with really uncomfortable beds, we had no clothes, no blankets and no food. I'm in the process of selling this van, so there was nothing in it! No gas, no washing facilities and no pillows. However, the weather was so nice that we decided we had to stay. We spent the evening having a chat to a farmer from Essex who we have organised to take all of his fleeces after shearing, and sat with a group of American War of Independence Re-enactors at their camp.
Finally the show season has begun! It's brilliant to be out on the road again, pitching up to events and getting to do classes and demonstrations! We're really getting going on this blue warp! It's my first really long warp which can do 8 scarves. 8! I've really go to get my ideas going to make them all look different!
The first show of the season was at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum and was so HOT! We set up the stand in the hot at 8am, and it only got worse! By Monday lunchtime we were really flagging!
We were really happily situated next to a field of Southdown sheep, they look like teddies, unfortunately it was so hot for them that they hid on the other side of the enclosure in the shade of the tree and ignored us most of the time.
It was great to see some of the regular customers and hear how their journeys into weaving or spinning are progressing and help other people begin theirs! There are definitely going to be some new spinners in the world soon!
I cannot overstate how exciting it was to go to Wonderwool for the first time this week. It was absolutely brilliant (and I spent so much money)!
We met so many wonderful people, including Paul Britain from Classic Carders. We have one of his Drum Carders and absolutely love it. I always recommend his carders to anyone thinking of getting a drum carder or hand carders as they are so much cheaper than any others on the market and work wonderfully, so it was brilliant to actually meet him.
We learned so much about different weaving techniques, especially relating to peg looms and weaving sticks and bought an inordinate amount of wool (both yarn and fleeces).
We camped across the river from the event and foolishly walked to the show. This meant when we left, with 5 huge bags of purchases we were a bit stumped with how we would get back to the camper van! Thankfully, a lovely lad offered us a lift down the road and we thought better of walking the next day.
I'm still warping! I'm now onto the warps for my small loom, that travels around with me, so only 300 ends this time! This first one is a blue, but I've also measured out a lovely browns and cream warp to make some less shocking scarves than I usually do, and a black and white striped one for later. I really liked the browns when they were on the cones, but now put together, I love them!
Really excited about this one and how it will turn out. I feel some plaids in my future!
As it's half term here, I get two whole weeks off of work! No I'm not a teacher, but I work in a school which means I get all of the holiday perks without the stress! I've been filling up this time off with the most time consuming parts of weaving: measuring out a warp. The warping mill that my dad made me has been put through it's paces and I've measured out enough for two full warps on my small loom (300 ends each) and two fill warps on my big loom (1040 ends each, done in 4 batches). I've definitely become one of those weird people who likes warping. I love working out what colours I need, if I have enough of each colour to do what I want, and making sure they all look good next to each other and balanced as a whole.
Last week we had a brilliant weekend at Crafting Live (I didn't have time to get it in the last blog post). It was a fantastic show! We had to travel all the way up to the Three Counties Showground, staying in a lovely campsite down the road, and met so many wonderful people! We finally managed to get our wool batts out for sale as well as our smaller amounts of acrylic fibre to use during spinning and felting.
We even have the possibility of going up to Malvern again to do some classes in the future in spinning and weaving. I'm so excited!
We also met up with other traders for the first time in a few months, and it was great seeing some familiar faces, especially ones who were giving us some things we had ordered (look out for Lucets in our future!).
This weekend we also went to Whiteley Village, near Walton on Thames, and tried out the canopy of my camper as a tent. It was a horribly rainy day, and the show was terrible, but it was really good to try out the frame inside of the canopy....
I bought a spinning wheel for my own use (and it's really ugly). You may have seen our lovely pictures on the website of the wheels that my parents refurbish. They are works of art! Beautiful and yet functional, spinning wheels are lovely just sitting in a corner if you don't know how to spin (but you should learn!).
This one is the ugly duckling in our flock. All hard lines and modern, it will never win a beauty contest, but my, it has a big orifice! Sounds rude, I know. The orifice is the tube that the yarn travels through on its way to the bobbin and that tube rictates how thick the yarn can be; too thick and the yarn just wont go through. This one is huge! It must be an inch across and is perfect for spinning fleece for making big fluffy rugs with. Don't hold your breath though, I have so many things to do first!!!
An exciting new development for me! My dad made me a warping mill and I'm so excited. Gone are the days of sitting on the floor with my feet going numb for 2 hours while filling up my warping frame! Now for the days where I can stand upright, still and just swing my warping mill around to wind it on! I've been dreaming of one of these for months!
It should speed up my warping hugely, and now my warps can be 70ft long instead of 40ft. I can do almost double the scarves on the same warp! It may sound boring to you, but I'm very happy.
This is my new warp to do while demonstrating at shows. With 70ft, it should last me a while, but I can keep a couple ready at home for when I need a speedy re-warping!