Saturday, 24 March 2012

North Devon and Rug loom

I am writing this from Sarah's 'Green Valley' in Higher Clovelly. I am down here for a week, part holiday, part working to restore the 9 sewing machines Sarah bought last week at her local auction. Yesterday shortly after we got here, I did a 2 1/2  hour one2one class for a lady also called Sarah, teaching her to care for her vintage sewing machine and also to sew on it. My Sarah couldn't do the class as Rowan is very poorly, with a high temperature. Sarah enjoyed her lesson very much. The sewing machine was a Singer 128 which was her Grandmother's, so she was very pleased to be able to use it. She made a shopping bag and went home very happy with a clean serviced machine. Tomorrow I will start servicing the machines to go on Sarah's website.

I hope to be able to go to the Big Sheep while I'm down here so we can see if there are any bits Casie missed when he collected the spinning wheels and loom. The loom is missing one of the metal shafts and some wooden bits and pieces. We can make the wooden parts, but a metal frame might be more difficult.

Jenny on our online Spinners and Weavers group offered a rug loom for free and I was lucky enough to be the first to reply to her. After some hassle due to emails not getting through, I will be collecting the rug loom after I get back from Devon. It comes with a lot of rug thrums, so I should be able to get into making a sample straight away.

I brought some carded fleece down with me, North Ronaldsay for me and some Jacobs for Sarah to try out. I forgot the Ashford traditional had a spring missing from the bobbin tensioner, also the nylon line is too short, so I might not be able to do much spinning unless we can get some more fishing line.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Update on fleeces

I have washed 1 Castlemilk Moorit, 1 Portland, the caramel Shetland and the Boreray. I still have 1 Castlemilk to wash, the others are being sold to Spinner's Guild members. I will take them along to the next meeting.

The weather has been very warm for late February, early March, I have been out in the front garden tidying up and pruning. This year I mean to make an effort out the front as the back garden is now a chicken yard. I will grow some herbs and dye plants out there, also all the little shrubs down the side of the greenhouse will go along the fence between us and Henry's old house. Which is now wrong as we have new neighbours, Ray and Jill who are moving in today, well, they have been moving stuff in since last week. They are pretty much between me and Phil in age, with grown up children and grandchildren. It's very strange hearing people next door after nearly 9 months. Henry and Carl never made much noise anyway.

I have carded some more Jacob's fleece to finish my jacket, I hae only the sleeves left to do now, in fact I am 1/4 of the way up the first sleeve. It's quite exciting to have an actual garment nearly finished, my first with my own handspun wool. I can't wait to get to the caramel Shetland as it is gorgeous, different shades of brown and cream on the tips.

I have been clearing out various cupboards in an attempt to clear the house. I have cleared out my fabric cupboard and have a lot of fabric to go on eBay. The wardrobe in the corner is now half empty so I will fill that up with fleeces. This will make the whole room a lot tidier.

Washed the other Portland fleece today and it was part felted before I washed it. It was very difficult to pull the locks apart. I may have to dump some of it which is a shame, but I have a lot more, far too many in fact.

We dropped in to see Sue and Jeff Bailey on our way home from Hoar Park Farm the other afternoon. They have had a tragedy, Maddie, their very expensive white Leicester Longwool ewe (1 year old) had to be destroyed after giving birth to a ewe lamb. She had a really bad prolapse. Jeff said she'd never been right and was much smaller than she should have been. There wsas no membrane round the lamb either. Jeff said it was as if everything inside the ewe had disintegrated. They think it may be down to inbreeding.

They are both understandably very cut up about it, especially as Jeff had to shoot her. What a terrble thing to happen. Apparently rare breed sheep have much more difficulty lambing than commercial sheep. At least the ewe  lamb has survived, Sue is bottle feeding her. she is really sweet. They have 9 lambs so far, including 2 sets of twins.

I had Maddie's shearling fleece last year, so I will spin some finer wool and crochet Sue a scarf in Maddie's memory.