Friday, 20 April 2018

Sailing on the Tide - Dinghies

A View of Wootton Creek at Low Tide.

With better weather finally arriving on the island, our sailing season begins.
But we are not ready!!
This winter we had to leave our two dinghies down at the river's edge on their plots in the dinghy park as our road trailer has broken, so we were not able to tow them home to overwinter in the shelter of our garden. This isn't usually a problem as we have left them down to overwinter at the river  before in case we wanted to use them.  But this winter has been particularly bad and it has taken it's toll on our poor little boats.

Peewit (left) Red 5 (right)

 They both look very sorry for themselves. Our Mirror dinghy has the added problem of it's launching trolley wheel has a puncture, along with it being full of rain water and generally soggy.


 Poor little Peewit had to be turned upside down  mid winter as her boat cover ripped in the winds. This has meant her paintwork on the hull has cracked and is flaking off, but thankfully she is sound.


 So Skipper has his work cut out to get these two back on the water.

Rigging, sails, boom, gaff and all the bits and bobs to fit out both dinghies are safely stored at home. I shall gather everything together, check the sails and sheets and make some sandwiches, add a flask of tea, a slice or two of cake and together we will spend some time down at the riverside getting our two little boats ship shape for the season.  

 When the tide floods in and the sea breeze calls, our two little dinghies will be ready to unfurl their sails and dance out on the wavelets of sparkling water...

 Crew's View As The Sails Fill 

Saturday, 10 March 2018

A visit to Cotswold Woollen Weavers

 We recently had a little holiday in the Cotswolds. We found this old weaving mill with museum, shop and café. It really is a delightful place to visit. The following photos were taken on my mobile phone camera, so do pop over to their website to see and find out more,






 Being able to view some old looms close up was great. I particularly get excited when I see wonderful old wooden looms. This is a beauty, it is so lovely to get up close, wander around having the museum all to ourselves.

Here you can see the Woven Cloth on the Loom, a packed room of woolly weaving goodies!

Bobbin, Spools, Shuttles Galore! Fleeces, Wools, Cones, Baskets,
Spinning Wheels and all Woolly Weaving Paraphernalia! 


Close up view of the Warp Threads, Heddles, Reeds on the Loom.

Even the building itself is beautiful. We enjoyed lunch in the café before we had to head out on our journey home to catch our ferry to the Isle Of Wight
We like holidaying out of season and on weekdays it's an ideal time to relax and potter around.


Sunday, 18 February 2018

Organization And Tips

 In my workroom I have my yarns, wools and materials stored on shelves that go around the top of the room rather like beach hut shelving. I love to be able to see all the colours and find it much easier to select items for a project whether it be weaving or hand knitting with this system. It also frees up floor space for my looms and spinning wheel, allowing room to work.

However things do get untidy especially when I'm working on several projects! so it is good to get organized and have a good sort out. I now have all my cones in one area rather than stored by colour. I have my handspun and hand dyed yarn ready to use for my next project in wicker and hessian baskets. I always have dried lavender sprigs from my garden and homemade lavender sachets to keep my wools naturally stored and fresh.

 My commercial yarns surround the room with a net of colourful and textural oddments for Saori weaving ready to grab and mix.

 This is a view of the heddles on my Saori Weaving Loom Ready to start to warp up once more.

A couple of tips I would like to share with you;
 Tip One
 twist the little wire ties that you get with sandwich bags in place at every 10th heddle. I find it makes it so easy to count the number of heddles needed for a weaving this way, it works so much better than pieces of yarn or cotton for markers as they don't get tangled and you can hold the "wire twist" and slide the heddle along the shaft with ease.

 Tip Two
I use large headed pins when sewing my hand woven and hand knitted items. They are easy to see in the cloth and are larger than normal sewing pins.

 I write how many pins I have before I start sewing on the underneath side of the pin cushion.

That way I know exactly how many pins I have used and when sewing some of my textural cloth it makes sure I haven't accidentally sewn in a pin or two!


Friday, 12 January 2018

Saint Distaff Day- Back to Spinning

Hand Spun Wool on Bobbin and Niddy Noddy

 Welcome and Happy 2018. I hope you like the new look to my blog, it's still a work in progress, I want to keep it clean, fresh and easy to view and navigate around.

Saint Distaff Day,   
Interesting article if you want to know the origins.


Well I felt my faithful Ashford Spinning Wheel deserved a really good make over and a bit of pampering to start the new year of spinning -so a visit to Wright Turned workshop (aka Skipper). 


  Where it was cleaned, polished, oiled and buffed to perfection, much more thoroughly than my usual regular maintenance, I was so pleased and excited to get back to my spinning and set to work immediately.

2 Bobbins of single thread on Niddy Noddy

 A smoothly running Spinning Wheel is a joy to use. First task was to ply up all those bobbins and spare singles to free up the bobbins for more spinning.

Plying
 Plying the threads together to produce 2 ply yarn and filling a new bobbin on the wheel.
 You can see the wool thread held by my 3rd and 4th finger and the plied twisted yarn feeding up away from my thumb and index finger.

Bobbin full of 2Ply Wool Yarn

 I had some textured hand dyed woad oddments on a couple of bobbins so plied those too.


 When I have oddments it is great to spin them all up together and make a really unique yarn, just perfect for adding to my Saori weaving. Lumps, bumps, textures, colours, different, thicknesses, rough, smooth, silky you name it!  Just using up all the bobbins as I go mixing and ...
 seeing what happens....
Thrilled with the results!
I still have to sett the yarns by washing them, but I have some more lovely Stash to start 2018 knitting and weaving projects.


Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Inspiring Colours

 There is plenty of colour inspiration at the Kaffe Fassett Exhibition currently running at

It was lovely to visit and absorb all these wonderful colours on a winter's day.
This year I have been immersing myself in colour whether it be "naturally dyeing yarns" from my own garden plants or using prepared dye pots, it has been really good fun and the more I learn about the process the more I want to increase that knowledge.
And so back to my own Exhibition "Christmas Crafts at Quarr Abbey" It was another lovely week, the weather was sunny, crisp and very cold which was great for my sales! Hats, Hand Warmers and Scarves were my top sellers this year with some customers requesting " no need to wrap them I'll wear them now" which was very pleasing.  
Now we are in December already and the year has flown by. I think of all the places we have visited this year, the beautiful gardens and rivers and landscapes on the mainland in Devon, Herefordshire and Wales. Historical Castles, Houses, cities and towns all with little details that inspire- giving food for thought and of course our very own little Isle Of Wight's Downs and Beaches especially on a clear sunny day with the sea and sky so blue and the land so green. I have taken so many photos this year and gathered oodles of  inspirational ideas.



 I try to choose yarns and textures in my hand knitting and hand weaving to give a natural ease and simplicity to my work- following Nature's lead.


 Below photo shows some Hand Painted Rolags in the steamer.
These will be Handspun into soft gentle colourways.

 Here are some rolled up Hand Woven Light Weight Fashion Scarves


 The photo above I will use to plan a new design.
The photo below is of a length of cloth woven on my Saori Loom.

Looking forward to 2018
It will be the start of my 8th year writing my blog and I feel it is time for a bit of an update and re-design. I will be trying out a new layout and want to bring you more Casting on and Casting off Adventures on Wool and Water.
I hope you will pop back soon.

Wishing you all a Very Happy and Peaceful Christmas and New Year.


Monday, 6 November 2017

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Woad Second Harvest!

 My woad plants continued to grow putting on some more fresh leaves, so it was the perfect opportunity to see if I could extract the blue pigment to be able to store some woad powder for the winter.
After steeping the leaves, the small harvest was removed. With the soda ash added I then whisked the dye liquid and allowed it to settle for a few hours.

 The "blue liquid magic" started to settle out, so it was just a matter of bit by bit pouring away the top water, letting it settle a little more and repeating. This task was much easier to achieve by filling lots of old jam jars so as I could see the blue pigment fall to the bottom.
I then cleaned and washed the pigment by topping up each jar with fresh water a few times.

 To dry the pigment to produce a powder I poured the concentrate onto a plate covered in cling film and left it in a warm place to slowly dry out.
The pigment dried in flakes and was delicately scrapped off the cling film into a dry storage jar.



As you can imagine I'm absolutely thrilled at being able to make my very own woad powder!!
Even if it is only a small amount from just a small handful of leaves, this year's harvest has been brilliant!
I have another jar with the pigment left in suspension. I may decide to dry this out or again use it to experiment with to compare my home grown, home made 
Woad Powder and Woad Suspension.