Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Last Minute Check

We have been to Freshwinds for last minute checks before a break away.
It was a glorious day with warm sunshine.
The sky was so blue, making a breath-taking backdrop to our afternoon.

We cut back lots of Michaelmus daisies, helianthus and the last of the sunflowers.
They are stacked by the compost heaps. They will need shredding as they are too woody to compost.
They have given a tremendous show.

In the polytunnel the French marigolds continue to flourish and some very welcome radishes have added a zing to our salad this evening.

I found a few more stone insects.....only 9 to recover now.

The inula has suddenly decided to make a last minute show after a poor start in the summer.

And the latest mystery......

......what has been nibbling the strawberries?
Actually this bed is due for renewal so they are welcome whatever they are!

The miscanthus looks very pretty in the late, low sun.

At home, my latest crafts......

......fingerless gloves......

......and some sock toys.

I am gearing up for the village craft fair on 27th. November.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Autumn Colour Fest

Yesterday my sister and I went to the
East Sussex Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers celebration in
our county town of Lewes.
Lewes is famous for its bonfire nights.

We eventually found a car parking space after driving right round the town.
We walked over the River Ouse and up the High Street to the town hall, 
past many eclectic little shops.
The town was buzzing.

Inside the town hall a barrage of colour hit our eyes as we wandered past the many enticing stands.
Here are a few of my pictures.

 The first lady I talked to was a weaver who dyed and spun her own wool and then wove it. She demonstrated her large looms with the heddles.
Her stand was lined with her own work.
I bought a huge bag of naturally dyed wool, using plants from her own garden.

She had brought ten bags and I was glad to have got it early on, as later on there weren`t many left.

The range of wool was totally amazing and I don`t know how I kept my hands off.

There was even a stand of fantastic ranges of buttons.

I was very pleased to meet up with Sheilagh, who gave me my spinning lesson a few weeks ago.
She was spinning flax from a distaff.
 It was Sheilagh who gave me the leaflet about this event.

There was an area for trying out different skills such as weaving and spinning with a drop spindle.
(Sorry the photo is a bit blurred)
There were demonstrations....we didn`t stop for any.
And finally there were people selling their own crafts.

We rested for a cuppa in the canteen and then made a few more purchases.

After a meal in a very busy cafe, we made our way home through lanes lined with autumn colour.

I can`t wait to start knitting and experimenting with the coloured wool.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Freshwinds October

People who visit Freshwinds for camping in the summer, must wonder what the garden is like during other times of the year.
Well I can tell you it is quite beautiful now in late October.....butterflies, bees, late colour from dahlias, cosmos, Michaelmus daisies, French marigolds....all surviving because there have been no frosts yet.


 And on Tuesday I picked over 200 heads of helichrysum, still going strong. So is the statice.


The cushioned chair in the polytunnel is so inviting but there`s no time to sit.

And there`s still lots coming in there.
Tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, dahlias.
We are also drying off the wonderful gladioli corms there.
These toadstools are coming up all over the garden on the chipped bark paths.

Our time there has been limited lately, due to big changes in our own garden.
Those are complete now but we are off on a late holiday next week.
After that we will be back to our usual routine, though we never seem 
to have normal weeks any more.

Friday, 16 October 2015

A Spinning Lesson

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to have a one to one spinning lesson 
from Shelagh Duffill at the Wool Shop in Battle.
I remember how to spin but I am a bit rusty.
My main aim was to become familiar with the workings of my new spinning wheel
and to get the tensions right. 
The spinning wheel was given to me by the daughter of a lovely lady called Patsy who died recently. It belonged to her. She was an artist.
I am so excited to begin this craft all over again.

I managed to put the whole thing together but could not work out how to get the double string tension correct. After contacting The Hastings 1066 Spinners, I was put in contact with Shelagh.
She offered me a one to one lesson which is just what I needed.
The Wool Shop in Battle is a true treasure trove and I have often been there for wool and craft items.

We set the wheel up in the back room and Shelagh started from scratch.
A very knowledgeable lady with a wealth of experience  and anecdotes.
We went through the workings of the wheel with me busily scribbling notes and taking photos.

Found on  http://schachtspindle.com

The wheel was oiled with special oil as it was not running smoothly..
The double drive band was strung.

The wheel began to turn smoothly with the treadle.....all in working order.

Next we carded some wool and using a long length of wool in a loop, called the leader, we strung the bobbin.

 It is a double knot to prevent it from sliding.

And after that I began spinning.....no photos as my hands were full!!
The results were a bit sporadic but as Shelagh pointed out, a lot of spinners are out for the"artistic" look these days with lumps and bumps all over the place. So I guess I was being artistic.

The spinning wheel came with one bobbin, so Shelagh showed me how to ply wool 
using the Andean method. It can be viewed on youtube.

Since then our very good friend Alan Beecham, who is a master woodturner, 
has turned me two more from sycamore. 

We then wound the wool onto a niddy noddy.

At this very moment, my husband is making me a niddy noddy of my own, 
from an old deckchair, in the garage.

Here is my completed skein, tied in a figure of eight in four places.

Next week my sister and I will be going to the 
East Sussex Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers exhibition in Lewes.

Many thanks to Shelagh for a great lesson which has fired my enthusiasm.
Now I shall be busy through the winter months, sitting cosily by the fire spinning once again.