Sunday, 27 February 2011

Boat Repairs

We have a few jobs to do on all three little boats before dipping them back in the water for the sailing season.

Peewit (our self build PBO pup dinghy)
We would like to find a new pair of oars for her and make the rigging easier to use with a few new clips and shackles but really she is ready to sail.
Mirror dinghy
She is in a sorry state at the minute, as water has seeped into the aft buoyancy compartment probably caused by a leaky bung. Water inside this space while we had such cold weather has not been good for her at all!

The wood needs to dry out, Skipper has removed the paint in the area effected to let the wood air, such a shame as he did a lovely job last season giving her a beautiful new coat of paint.

When thoroughly dry she can be repainted. There is also a known leak around the centreboard which will be fixed at the same time.

Sunstar 18
Skipper and I have been repairing the bilge pump on our little yacht, a fun day was had squeezing skipper into a tiny space under the deck to disconnect the pump, so as we could find out the problem while I unscrewed the fittings on deck. Trying to talk and hear one another through the deck was difficult so we ended up communicating through a series of knocks, taps and inventive signalling!! Pulling Skipper out of the tight gap by his feet- bilge pump in hand was first task successfully completed.
Second task could it be repaired? thankfully yes, as it was just the seal that had perished and thanks to a local chandler we were able to purchase the new part. Having repaired it...
Third task, squashing Skipper back under the deck to re fit it!
But like most jobs just when you think;brilliant job done, we discovered the hose line to the bilge pump was also perishing on the seals so two new hose clips were needed.
A bilge pump is needed to pump out any water that may have got into the boat-A vital piece of kit on board fixed.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Hand Felting Project

A process I enjoy doing with my work is hand felting.

The yarn must have natural fibres to felt as synthetic/man made fibres and super wash wools will not felt, check label and test a swatch first if unsure.
My method is to hand knit an item and then hand felt it; the thrill is I never quite know how the piece of work will turn out, controlling the felting process is what I aim to do, but working with the natural elements of fibre, water and heat I just have to go with the flow, let things happen and hopefully shape and control my work into the finished desired effect.

Hand felting adds a new dimension to my designs and it's fun to do too!

My little bag is hand knitted in a mohair yarn, when felted gives a luxury feel while producing a fluffy but firm fabric.

To Hand Felt
I prepare hot and cold bowls of water. Pour a few inches of hot (but not boiling) water into a sink and add a teaspoon of wool wash. Have a bowl of cold water at hand.

Place the knitted bag in the hot soapy water and begin kneading and rubbing.

I constantly change the direction of my work to insure even felting. Suddenly I will feel the wool starting to felt. This is the fun bit!

By plunging the knitted bag into the bowl of cold water and then returning it to the hot soapy water I can control the felting process. I continue kneading, rubbing and transferring the bag from hot to cold water until I'm happy with my very own “created felted fabric”.

Paying attention to moulding the bag into shape as I go.

Then I rinse it well in clear cool water, press dry in a folded towel and lay flat allowing the bag to dry before adding the finishing details such as buttons or beads.

Hope I have inspired you to have a go and create and discover a new unique fabric from your knitting.

My Hand knitted and Hand felted designed items are available from my online shops and craft outlets

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Woodland and Creekside Walk

While our boats are all in winter store we enjoy exploring the Island. At the weekend we put on our walking boots and had a lovely walk around our village.
We are fortunate to have choices of fields,woods,beach or the creek right on our doorstep.
The moss growing on this tree trunk is beautiful, so full of texture and colour. A little inspiration for a knitting and weaving project.

Walking towards the Mill pond glimpsing the water with the Sun through the reeds

A fresh blue sky with the Sun making the reed beds shimmer

The Creek at Low Tide.
The entrance of Wootton Creek is wide and deep (where the car ferry to Portsmouth operates from).
As you can see there is only a small channel of water at low tide further up the creek. There is a tide gate at the bridge controlling the flow of water to the Mill pond which is a nature reserve for wildlife and water birds.
Although we live near by we actually keep and sail all our boats on the River Medina and have not ventured up the creek by boat as yet.
We would need to do a bit of passage planning to make sure we had water and tide enough to get ourselves in and out again! but I think it would make quite a little voyage and adventure for our little Sunstar 18 yacht this coming season.
It would be a good port of call if the wind was a bit light for sailing and we were over to the East of the Solent heading for Ryde as we could drop our sails and motor in for a little recce.