Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Jacob Fleece- Follow The Process Part Two

Finally got started on my Jacob fleece!

First I wanted to prepare a test skein so as I could determine the spun quality of the wool, but mainly I wanted to ply a two colour yarn using the lovely natural creamy white with the lovely rich deep black/brown.

(In the first photo you can see the prepared rolags ready to spin).

If I liked the effect I have been thinking of spinning up a reasonable amount of the fleece like this to produce a yarn.

A Test Sample.

Washing and Carding.

Taking two handfuls of the fleece one of cream the other of black.

I soak each sample in hot water using a really generous amount of "Original Fairy" washing up liquid, this is a good quality safe detergent that will remove the dirt and cleanse the wool without doing any damage.

Always place wool into a prepared bowl of hot soapy water, do not agitate or pour hot water over the wool as you don't want to felt it! Just allow the heat and soap to soak away the dirt with a little lanolin.

Leave to soak until water is cool, then gently remove fleece from the dirty water and repeat the process if required. Rinse in clear fresh water. I like to leave some grease in the fleece so as it is easier to spin. Allow to dry.

Doing this task on a sunny day means it is quick to dry and smells sweet.
Spread on the branches of my little olive tree, they were ready in no time!

Then the fleece samples are carded so as the fibres are combed in the same direction and any small lumps or bits of straw etc are removed.

Light airy rolags.
Now I'm ready to spin my yarn.

In part three I will show you the spinning and plying process and hopefully the yarn will be a lovely blend of the natural colours.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Cowes Week 2011

We have been enjoying the Spectacle of Cowes Week Sailing Regatta.

It has been a really good week of steady breezes, in fact quite windy on some days! so it has been great to be on shore watching all the action.

With hundreds of boats racing everyday there is always plenty to see from the starts at The Royal Yacht Squadron line to the finishes both at this line and over at Shrape (see previous blog post).

Something special for this year is the Centenary year of the X One Design(XOD) boats so a record number of these lovely wooden sailing yachts were racing, they make an amazing sight with tight racing on the start line- my photo only captures a small mass of them imagine a white fluttering line of sails stretching across the Solent!

One hundred years on and the Extreme 40's are fast Catamarans flying around a short course at high speed.

It is always wonderful when the yachts are on a spinnaker run home for the line and they come in really close to shore this makes for a fantastic view for spectators and entertainment off the Green, especially if it is low tide and a few keen sailors get stuck on the rocks as they sail in too close.

Skipper has raced as crew at Cowes Week over the years and I think with such a good week's racing this year he is hankering for another race, on the helm would be his dream now!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Back on the Water.

Tide, Wind and Weather.

On Saturday we got out on the Solent in our little yacht. The tides are something we seriously have to consider when planning a trip as the Solent is renowned for it's interesting and strong tidal ebbs and flows. With it being a new moon it was particularly full and strong.

We motored out of the River Medina around 10.00 the weather was muggy and murky with a few spots of drizzle in the air. We hoped for a little breeze enough to fill the sails and give us enough power to fight the tide but once out pass the breakwater at East Cowes, not a whisper of the wind was evident.

So while we waited for the breeze to fill, Skipper cast out the fishing line and we motored East.

This is the new marker for Shrape, a shallow area where many boats get it wrong and bump their bottoms on the mud when racing.

Early afternoon and still no wind and no fish either! We decided to make for our mooring and had our picnic lunch as we motored back up the river. The tide was rushing out and the sun broke through.

Our new outboard did it's work well and was very economical on fuel too, just wish we could have had a sail though...

Clipper Round The World 2011

Sunday was a completely different day a good breeze with warm sunshine. The Solent tide still very strong. Not us sailing today though instead we walked round to view the start of The Clipper- Round The World Yacht Race from the sea wall in front of the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes.

It is a race created by Sir Robin Knox- Johnson for ordinary people to be able to go on an " once in a lifetime" extra ordinary adventure! Please go to the website below to find out more and follow the race.

See my June blog too, we were sailing alongside one of these yachts ( for a very short while) before they raised all their sails and we off.

I love to watch the starts of the big races and wish them good seas and safe journeys.

Sailing is such an adventure even if you are only in a little dinghy pottering up and down the river. With the water,breeze and a sound little boat you can let your imagination travel.