Saturday, April 30, 2011

30 April: Stitchwort

The cold winter and dry spring are producing an abundance of wild flowers. The stitchwort is plentiful by local hedges -

- along with celandines, violets, garlic mustard, dandelions, bluebells, vetch, speedwell, primroses, wild strawberries ....

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

27 April: Spun skeins

Over the weekend I spun up the BFL fibre dyed last week. 150 gms of orange and 200 gms of purple -

Wish I could knit faster.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

20 April: Dyeing

This fine weather is just right for doing a bit of dyeing and hanging yarn and fibre up to dry. So that was what I did yesterday morning.

Here's the result -

It's all BFL - some tops bought fairly recently, plus 3 skeins of undyed yarn that must have been spun some time last year. Apart from trying out 2 new dye shades (Maize and Alfalfa), I chose to do shades of orange and purple, mixing different dyes for each piece. The coffee colour was a lurid pinky-purple, rather over-modified with a bit too much browny-yellow. It'll spin in with the purples OK though, just adding to the variety.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

17 April: Chaffinch

Yesterday early evening I went out to water the newly-planted seedlings in the back garden - lobelias and calendulas. The potted trees needed a drink too, and as I was watering the gingko something moved in its branches and startled me. It was a chaffinch, and he sat there while I was standing right next to it.

Birds don't normally do that, so I wondered if he had flown into the window and stunned himself (they do that). I said Hello - he just looked at me. Eventually I reached out a hand and touched his tail very gently; he still didn't move. It was only when I mentioned he should be careful of the sparrowhawk that he flew off.

Monday, April 11, 2011

11 April: Painting

Decorating used to be easy - down to the DIY shop, buy a tin of paint, and slap it on the wall.

Now there are dozens of ranges of paint, all with slightly different shades (or perhaps the same shades, but with different names). No wonder most people chicken out and buy magnolia again.

But we wanted a bit of a change from magnolia and cream in the bedroom, though as I didn't fancy painting the entire room, it was to be just one wall - very 60's. Those of us in our 60's who remember the 1960's, that is.

Having marked several possibilities on the shade cards, off we went to buy tester pots. Only to find that several of the colours we fancied were not represented in the tester range, and one or two not even in the tins on the shelves. Fortunately a larger shop stocked what we wanted, and after consideration of half a dozen patches of colour on the wall, we plumped for a dangerously strong cocoa colour.

It looks good; didn't take too long to do, and the tin did 2 coats easily, in spite of a panic half way through the first coat.  Now we're thinking of doing a wall in the sitting room. Perhaps Antique Gold.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

7 April: Two more bands

These little bands are quite addictive!  For the first of these two, I spun some dark navy and some cherry red from a parcel of lucky-dip mixed wool fibre from World of Wool. The design was adapted from a band by Laverne Waddington, which she got from a Russian band.

I thought there were no mistakes in the weaving until I turned the finished band over - and found a couple of misplaced warps which didn't show on the front.

But the second band has no weaving mistakes that I can see! It's one of the designs in Sue Foulkes' book Sami Band Weaving, and I love the asymmetric pattern. This one is done in handspun natural coloured wools (Shetland and "black" Wensleydale)  with an accent of dyed green Shetland.

There's a slight snag in that the pattern section, with its warp floats, is woven a little more tightly than the spotted border, so the band forms a gentle spiral.  Firm steam pressing will probably sort that out.

Now I really must get back to knitting the sock that was cast on a week ago.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

5 April: Blossom

Suddenly, all those scruffy bits of roadside hedge are alight with blossom!  Rather dull banks are sprinkled with flowers, and the birds are over enthusiastic at 4 a.m.  There was plenty of this where we walked this morning -

And this is what passing traffic missed -

It's blackthorn, I think.