Made from scrap

Made from scrap
All's well


Total Pageviews

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Camping Crochet - 'Crazy Art Batts'

I posted about 'Challenge Day' for the 'Tour De Fleece' where I spun 200g of 'Crazy Batts' into singles.  The Crazy Art Batts were bought at a discount price for a group 'Spin along' in the Yummy Yarns UK  group on Ravelry.   I practiced slubs but didn't quite master control of  them.  I could make them but not every time I intended to and I had no control over their size.  I am partial to a big fat slub in a Yarn though.  The resulting yarn was very thick and slubby in places and very unpredictable.  I loved it for all its lumps and bumps.  It was great fun to spin.
'Tour De Fleece' Challenge Day - Crazy Art Batts Blog Post
I washed the skeins to set the twist  and  took them with me camping along with my trusty 'Jumbo Crochet Hook'.
This Hook is 'The Beast' of all my Crochet Hooks' I love it!  I think it is a 25mm.  While Euan played on a park that backed on to the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey, I peacefully crocheted and played 'Frisbee' with Lacey.  (You see, I am talented like that and a master at multi-tasking).  Whatever you make with this hook grows very quickly.  I have previously made two shawls with it and they grew at warp speed.  I have also experimented with 'rag' crochet using it.
Handspun Natural Grey Gotland with Pink Merino - Made with Jumbo Hook
(This came Camping too and it was perfect)
Handspun Corriedale Beaded Yarn 
Whilst Camping I decided to make a 'Crazy Art Batt Hat'.  I would have made another shawl or shrug if I had enough yarn.  (I see more Art Batt singles on the horizon).  The 'small' hat took 100g of yarn.  Have you ever tried to photograph a hat while it is on your own head?  I do not know why I am admitting it here, but I have!  I can be a bit ditsy sometimes.  ( You may have worked that out for yourselves already!)
Take 1 - A glimpse of the chaos I live in but not much hat!
Take 2 - A glimpse of the chaos I live in and the Budgie cage, but still not much hat!
Third time lucky- Certainly not!
Good Old Henry saved the day and was a willing Model again wearing my 'Crazy Hat'
I am on the look out now for a large Grey and Pink felt flower to go on the side of the hat.  I think I will have to make one.  I am sure Henry will model again when the hat is completely finished and fitted with an suitable  embellishment.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

July 2011 Photo Collage

July has been another busy and colourful month.  I can't quite believe we are 'almost' in August already.  Does anyone know how many craft days there are until Christmas?  Have a great August.

Busy on a Goat Farm!

Looking after more than fifty goats is very hard work for Sarah and Ian the farmers.  I am sure the help from willing, over enthusiastic little campers is much appreciated!  First Euan had to remove the old hay from the troughs of the youngest goats and give it to the middle sized goats.
The youngest goats were very hungry for fresh Hay and goat 'cake'.  One was so hungry it had a couple of nibbles of Euan's hair.  In Euan's own words it made him 'quite angry!'.  I think the goat thought it was carrot.
Hungry goats eat a lot of hay twice a day.
Theses guys push and shove to get to the food, they have bad manners and there was some butting of heads and even standing on each other.
Euan was brave and got into the pen with the youngest goats.  As soon as the goats started doing what came naturally to them...
He got out quite quickly!
The older goats eat silage and they seem to love it.  Then for their afters they have 'Goat Cake' pellets.
While all the children were busy Ken and I had time to bond.
What a charmer.  He is about two years old.  It is amazing to think that the kid billies will grow that fast.
Up close and personal!  Such a cutey with a very soft muzzle.  He was a Gentle Giant.  He shared an important job on the farm with Billy Kid, the other big Billy Goat.  Between them they are the 'Daddy' to a lot of kids!  They are doing a great job.  Poor Billy the ladies prefer Ken.  I think it is his enigmatic charm that does it.

A very photogenic boy.

The funny looking goats are sheep!  Three sheep live with all these goats I think, they think they are goats.  They are enjoying their cake.  After the 'Tour De Fleece' I am looking at all animals and seeing potential fiber everywhere.  I am not sure goat fibre would be great but these Suffolk sheep had lovely fleece.
I think Cashmere goats would make a fantastic addition to my three chickens.  Euan and I would also like a pet pig!
I did get some crochet done while I was away...honest Guv!  I will try to dig it out of the 'post' holiday mayhem and share it tomorrow.  The weekend here looks set to be a Sunny one, I hope you are enjoying yours.  Today we are going  to my parents to celebrate my Mom's Birthday. 

Friday, 29 July 2011

Camping in Somerset July 2011

Here is my old tent, in a field on a Goat Farm in Somerset.  I am back home now, happily back in the Land of Blog, safe and sound and clean again.  None the worse for my experience but running water, comfortable chairs and electricity feel like luxury.
We had a couple of camp fires, baking potatoes, cooking sausages and toasting marshmallows.  Sadly the toasting Marshmallows resulted in my friend taking a trip to Accident and Emergency!  A Marshmallow fell of it's stick and gave her a nasty burn!  It has really put me off toasting Marshmallows.  They will no longer be part of my camping experience.
The weather was more than kind to us and the river was very welcome for cooling off.  I don't really deal with precise temperatures there is just freezing, cold, chilly, mild, warm, hot and very hot in my vocabulary.  It was very hot.  The river was great for cooling off and not just for Lacey...

We all took a dip!
Sarah was lucky enough to see a kingfisher at the river but I had too much noise accompanying me.  I did admire the flowers though.
Edit : My bro thinks this may be Great Willow herb, I thought willow herb too but am open to
 offers :)
I do not know what these are but they are beauties, I will get around to identifying them but if any one knows I would appreciate it....
This one I think is Himalayan Balsam described as beautiful but dangerous.  It escaped from Kew Gardens in the 1830s and is currently taking over the British countryside as an invasive weed!

  We were in good company with the Lords and Ladies on the riverbank.
All the fresh air of the open countryside even made sleeping on an airbed possible.
Tomorrow I will post about Euan's experiences with 'Goat care'.  We had a very hands on experience and got involved with the daily chores.  We missed our chickens terribly and Euan liked checking the Hens on the farm for eggs.  When I got home the 'Girls' all clucked happily for a while, they missed their Mama.  I want to be a goat farmer when I grow up!  I fell in love with a billy goat called Ken, I think he liked me too.  I always think the best thing about going away is coming home though.  It is just a shame I had to leave Ken behind.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

A Camping We Shall Go!

I have been getting ready to go camping, the thought and the excitement of it is exhausting.  I never travel light!  A friend asked if I wanted to go to Glastonbury for the day, I love Glastonbury, so the trip has grown into a two or three night excursion on the above farm in Somerset for my friend Sarah and her dog Jake, myself, Henry, Euan and our dog Lacey.
It is a working goat farm.  The facilities are basic to non existent.  My view is this is character building for the kids and myself.  We are practicing for our trip to Cornwall in five weeks.  I love the Somerset countryside Goats or no goats!  Henry is worried about the lack of basic amenities.  I think it is very funny!
The farm is down the same Lane as England's longest Ford!  The river Axe runs through the campsite and I have just read the owners have been creating Rope and Tyre swings this afternoon.  My boys should like those!  I chose the site because I am hoping it will be peaceful, also you can have campfires, which on many 'camp' sites you cannot these days.  I am hoping will will be able to try advanced bush craft skills such as toasting Marshmallows on a stick and boiling water for a pot noodle.  I really hope the Insect repellent I ordered online arrives tomorrow or Tuesday as we leave on Wednesday morning.  We have blow up beds, blow up pillows and sleeping bags at the ready.  All that 'blowing up' will also be character building for the kids, as will fetching water and sorting the technicalities of morning ablutions!   I must remember to pack a couple of crochet projects and the spindle may sneak in somewhere.  Oh and I can't forget to pack some eggs!  Euan ate the first one soft boiled for tea tonight, he dipped in the obligatory toasted soldiers.  We have had four eggs now and Euan collected his first this morning, he was so proud of it he came down the garden singing an 'I have got an egg' song.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Eggsiting News Alert!

How marvelous!  I feel like a proud parent.  I know it is late but we have only just discovered our first egg!
Isn't it a posh one!  I was not eggspecting that for a week or two!  My girls are so clever.
I could not be prouder if I had laid it myself!  It is eggsactly what we have been waiting for.  I can now officially undertake egg collecting patrol each morning.  Bless those chickens, I love them.  Even if they didn't lay eggs I would still love them, they are part of our crazy household.  They will be 18 weeks old on Tuesday.
My my, how time flies.  My little girls have grown up!

Day 21 Tour De Fleece 2011 - Challenge Day

Today I was in the saddle early, I have had great fun spinning 200g  lumpy bumpy 'Art Style' Batts from YummyYarnsUK.  I purchased these batts to take part in a 'Spin Along' with the 'Yummy Yarns Group'.  I have really enjoyed spinning them today and they are really bringing me much joy seeing them dangling on the washing line to set the twist in these low twist singles.  These really are my kind of yarn!  I have four skeins out of 200g with about 30m, 20y of yarn in each skein.  I love very chunky crochet and I can see chunky 'Freeform' crochet hats on the horizon.  It has been a liberating experience after trying to spin fine, even yarns to embrace each lump and bump.  I practiced slubs and shoved more through my Orifice than I thought my little wheel could cope with.  (Yes Orifice is an official spinning term!  I will let you have a little snigger though.)  I also emptied four bobbins by Navajo plying all my left over yarns, that has been good practice.  I may chill out tonight with a bit more crochet on the 'Saggy Bottomed Bag'.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Day 20 Tour De Fleece 2011 - Navajo plied Yak Yarn

I did it, I did it!  I managed to Navajo ply.  I have managed this new to me method, by no means have I mastered it but I have managed to Navajo ply.  I understand the principal, it would be great when I have practiced more and can manage a nice even ply.  Navajo is a method of ply from a single bobbin.  You make a large, long slip knot and work a kind of extended finger knit chain with spin to ply, if you google it or search Youtube you can easily find tutorials explaining far more succinctly than I can manage.  The resulting yarn is a three ply.  I love Yak yarn and would really like to make a big project in this fibre or just buy a Yak hair cardigan.    

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Schools Out!

I have broken up today for my Summer Holidays, no school for six weeks.  I have mixed feelings, I am glad to be work free but I will miss the children that have moved on.  I am one of those people that hate goodbyes!  We had a great morning going to an Outdoor Education Centre and learning 'Bush Craft' skills.  We made shelters, including carving our own tent pegs.  The kids also built and started their own fires with 'Fire Sticks'.  Then they made bread dough and twizzled it around a stick to cook in the camp fire.  I got delegated the job of making three mugs of tea and three hot chocolates with a pint of water, no milk and no spoon!  I am good but I aint that good!  Black tea was revolting.  We ended the morning toasting marshmallows and burning our tongues!  Delicious.  It really was great fun but the downside is I have a few unpleasant insect bites from the bugs in the woods.  Two of which are on my right hand and are nicely swollen, they are very itchy and aching.  I am also no martyr to pain or discomfort.  I have managed to spin some more Yak hair today, I really love it.  Tomorrow I should find time to learn how to Navajo Ply, I chickened out at the weekend and taught myself Andean ply instead.  That was not easy and caused me to use a few unmentionable words, when my camel ended up in a spaghetti heap on the floor!  Navajo plying looks even trickier to me.  I have enjoyed reading your comments about my spinning escapades, thank you very much for stopping by, making me laugh and offering your support and compliments.  Blogland is such a lovely place.  Wishing everyone a happy Summer if you can find it where you are!  

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Tour De Fleece Day 18 - Yak

Today I have spun my first ever Yak hair, courtesy of  Tomorrow I will probably go out to work covered in dark brown fluff.  I think I may be slightly allergic to yak!  I mean how would you ever know?  My nose is tickling, itchy and hot and my eyes are itchy but I love Yak fibre.  It is a treat to spin and makes a lovely soft, smooth yarn.  It feels like very soft, silky wool.
  I think knitted Yak knickers may catch on!  Mind you could be problematic with an allergy!  Bed socks would be luxurious.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Tour De Fleece 2011 - Angora Rabbit

Angora Rabbits are one of the oldest breeds of domestic rabbit.  They originate from Turkey along with the Angora goat.  They were bred for their soft long fur.  I can't quite believe there is a rabbit under there!  Of all the fibres in my sample pack I was least enthusiastic about Angora rabbit.  I found it an interesting spin but personally I did not enjoy it.  I had a nasty allergic reaction to an Angora Mix jumper once, where some fibre got in my eye.  My eye was inconceivably swollen for three or four days before the fibre worked its way out and became apparent as the cause.  It was a beautifully soft, grey and embroidered jumper, I only wore it once!  It was with a considerable amount of trepidation and the sort of willfulness that gets me in to trouble that I set out to spin this fibre, with the attitude of getting it over and done with.  It is a shame because it has some really wonderful qualities.  It is soft, fluffy and the resulting yarn has a wonderful halo.

It has little elasticity so I think it would be useful to explore blending Angora with other fibres.  I can't see me experimenting much with it though.  It is a bit like joining a Gym, it has little appeal to me although I can see why others like it!  It did make me itch, I expected to get hives (seriously), my nose tickles and my eyes don't feel great, however even though my clothes are covered in a layer of white fluff I am not sneezing or as bad as I expected.  I was reading about someone with a severe wool allergy, can you imagine such an affliction?  Rabbit hair I can probably live without, but wool!  Perish the thought!
Edit:  We all went out covered in white fluff today.  The little one had it all over his school trousers and I had it all over my behind!  Not a good look!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Camel - Tour de Fleece 2011 Day 15

I have to own up to having a 'Tour de Fleece' Puncture on Friday.  I think Birthday's and a busy week caught up with me.  Henry had a good last day of work experience for his birthday and then he requested a Barbecue at my parents.  Henry is somewhat of a food connoisseur and likes to try new (to him) foods Oysters, Octopus, Lobster, Rabbit etc.  He has quite adventurous taste.  He had requested 'T Bone Steak - Rare'.  My Dad bought him a whopping 'Black Welsh' beef steak.  Henry really enjoyed it.  So all the frivolities meant I got a bit off track.   Never mind I am back in the saddle and ready to attempt to spin everyday again until the 22nd July.
Day 15's attempt was something new to me.  Camel!  I never used to be a Yarn snob.  However I can see myself getting that way if I'm not careful.  Shiela at had a very generous offer in June, for subscribers to her Newsletter.  She sent out a Fibre Selection.  The fibres were Camel - Natural 'White' Tops, Angora Rabbit - Natural white, Cashmere Tops - Natural white, Baby Alpaca - Natural white, Kid Mohair 'Super Grade' - Natural white and 'Fine Dehaired Yak wool.  The subtle nuances is fascinating.  I have worked mostly with wool.  I have spun a little silk and some 'Dog hair' in the past.  This was a fantastic opportunity to try something new. 

Camel is something else!  It is so soft and silky and I really wouldn't call the colour white.  I would call it 'Caramel Camel'.  It is beautiful.  I am however very allergic to Angora Rabbit and also cat hair.  I have a feeling I am a little sensitive to camel.  It could be that it has shared space with the Angora though!  My eyes swell and my nose itches when I come in to contact with Angora or some cats.  I used to have a lovely Tom Cat called Buddy, I loved him very much and put up with the sneezes and sniffles, which only got bad if he brushed himself on my face.  I love cats.  I am still going to attempt to spin a little angora though. As I type it is sitting next to me and I can feel a huge sneeze coming on.  The Camel spins into a beautiful soft yarn and feels very warm in my hand as I spin.  I would love a jumper or cardigan made in fine Camel, Oooh Bless Me! I have just had a huge sneeze!  No good wearing a jumper that feels great but makes you sneeze and gives you Hives!  I am going to knit swatches with these fibres and sew them together for a Display.  I may add fine 'Lacey Hair' to the collection - 'Natural Black!'
I am looking forward to spinning Yak the most. 

I was reading last night about Qiviut - which is the fine undercoat of the Musk-Ox.  It is reputably the finest 'wool' in the world.
The wool is stronger than sheep's wool and eight times warmer but finer than Cashmere.  22g of Qiviut Yarn sells for about $42 dollars!  That is a price not to be sniffed at!  Achoo!  Oh Bless Me again!  Hope you are all having a good weekend.