Summer is purple

P1010291It is this time of year again when the hills turn purple with heather blossom. I love this colour combination. Last year it inspired me to knit this phone cosy.

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Time to make a new one as the first has sold. 🙂

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Workshop ready to move in

About one year has gone by since we started to play with different ideas (sizes, design, location) for a smallish workshop shed for me. Finally, it is finished and I moved in not only with my materials for crafting but also with possessions that haven’t had a home for the past 5 and a half years.

A space can look rather beautiful without anything in it. However, I am not a minimalist which makes maintaining the clear and open feel of the 14 square metre room unrealistic. This year’s market season begins in April, so I have to get making – a real pleasure in this on sunny days light flooded little space.

 

Wool, Colours, Fabrics and Ideas

While the remnants of hurricane Gonzalo are lashing our coast with high winds, heavy rain and impressive waves, I am sitting in our cosy house, thinking of all the things I could make and experiment with during the dark months of winter.

Bild004 Amongst other things I would like to do a few trials with natural dyeing. My group of Crafty Crofters  had several meetings over the summer and autumn to try out different dye materials such as madder, silverweed, sweet cecily, birch bark and leaves, woad, logwood, annatto seed and onion skins. I am not as systematic as I would like to be in taking notes about the procedures to follow and the results but my aim is to buy a proper “dyeing bible” and to dye some of the Cheviot wool I’ve got. At this time of year I probably start with onion skin and iron to get yellows, browns, greens and blues.

Bild006Samples dyed with birch leaves and birch bark. From left to right: Birch leaves (first dye bath, this looks yellower in reality than in the photo), birch leaves (1st bath + iron, this looks greener in reality), birch leaves (2nd bath + iron), birch bark, birch bark + iron. Unfortunately, my camera can’t show the colours exactly as the eye sees them. They are all lovely natural and autumnal colours.

P1540238During our last meeting we had a look at a Jacob fleece which we are going to divide between us. Being a beginner in the field of spinning and selecting parts of a fleece for different kinds of work, there’s a lot to learn for me.

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On Saturday the 18th of October I went to the Highland Wool and Textile Fair held in Eden Court in Inverness. This bus was not part of the Fair but parked outside the entrance and looked lovely in the sunshine.

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I haven’t been to this fair before, which takes place in May (in Dingwall) and October (Inverness). Lots of talented craftspeople presented their yarns, fabrics and products made from wool or felt. Rather than buying a finished product I was interested in yarns and fabrics to use for my own little projects. It’s also great to see what others are up to and to make contact with people in this creative community.

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Kingcraig, a business with shops in Brora and Dornoch, had some baskets with offcuts and squares of their range of woven fabrics for sale. They proved extremely popular as the stall holder told me when I bought three for very little money. The red and the blue/red one are pre-finished fabric as it comes off the loom. It needs washing to turn into the soft fabric which they use to make cushion covers, bags, hats and other items.Bild045

Wool fairs are a place to buy yarns and these are the ones I chose. The orange and brownish yarn is merino with silk, handspun by Isobel McCallum Scott from Naturally Sheepish. The blue and blue-green yarns are sock yarn and double knitting Blue Faced Leicester, hand-dyed with acid dyes by the Yarn Garden. I really look forward to starting a new project now.

Sheepish

Sheepish I

Today I made this little sheep from a wet felted ball of grey Cheviot wool. I felted the face on with a felting needle.

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It sits on a flat grey pebble which I picked up on Ullapool’s shoreline last week.

This little sheepish looking creature is my prototype. The next Crafts market is coming up soon and I had thought of making something like this for some time. I am quite pleased with it and will refine the look as I make others.

All things woolly

All things wooly

Some of the little things made of wool which I created during last winter and spring.

Wristwarmers to keep the drafts out of your sleeves and your hands warm. All approximately 14-15 cm long.

Little purses for money, credit cards, cosmetics or other female requisites that need a tidy place in your handbag. I blended red mohair wool with Cheviot wool from our local area and spun it into a yarn that seems suitable for this kind of purse.The buttons are made from heather branches I find on walks or from driftwood that washes up on the beach. Buttons waxed with beeswax.

Needlefelted cats, bunnies and stags, all from local wool, mainly Cheviot. They can be used as brooches (brooch needle attached at the back) or – with a string attached – hung where you like.

Wet felted mobile phone cosies fitting different phone makes.

Handknitted small bags with handspun yarn from wool of my neighbours’ sheep. The bags are approximately 20cm wide, 15 cm high and about 2 cm deep, either with a button or a zip.