Visiting The Lake District and Some New Toys

We just got back from our first holiday in over two years.  The hubs and I usually go to France or Spain with the dogs in the campervan but I didn’t have a good feeling about travelling just before Brexit as it meant more hassles taking the dogs abroad.  Then we had covid.  We usually travel at the beginning of June and purchase our ferry tickets at least six months before that, but it didn’t feel right to me and I always go with my gut feelings. We thought we would go to The Lake District  in the September (last year, 2020), but then we went into Tiers and then lockdown again.  We had to postpone our trip to this September and thought that we would travel once the kids were back at school.  It was nice getting out in the van with the dogs.  I have another blog where I will be writing a more extensive post.  It is called Dream Big, Pack Lite.   In the meantime I will post a couple of photos.

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These are Herdwick Sheep and are pretty indigenous to The Lake District.  You see them everywhere.  They are an ancient breed and are raised for meat.  The wool is more like a coarse fur and is really not great for spinning or felting.  Herdwick do have a high cuteness factor which makes up for that.  The lambs are black and they get lighter as they get older.  We stopped at a pub in Nether Wasdale called The Strands Inn where there were two large needle felted paintings on the walls.  Unfortunately they were unsigned.  I couldn’t take a photo because of the glare of the pub lights in the glass.  Apparently they are made with the wool from Herdwick sheep.   The paintings were really beautiful.  Whoever made them should sign their name to them and put up an artist’s statement to really justify the price they are asking for them.

The day before we came home, we walked half way up Scafell Pike.

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The weather was dull but warm.  We only did half way as we had done some other walks in the week and we didn’t want to overdo it.  I have had some breathing issues for the last 5 years, a bit of arthritis in my hands, and my knees can be dodgy.  We walked half way up and back down again to the lake above and back to where we were camping.

We intended on having two weeks away, but the weather turned for the worse, so we came home early.  That is an advantage of traveling in the campervan.

On the way up to The Lakes I collected a new piece of equipment and a bonus one.IMG_1338This is my new to me, pre-loved, 24 inch Kromski Harp rigid heddle loom with stand.  It sat in a bag the whole time we were away!  I purchased it from a lady on one of the weaving groups on FaceBook.  We got chatting and one thing led to another.  She wants to downsize and I wanted to upgrade and I wanted a Kromski.  At this time, there are no new Kromskis available as stock is very low.  I spent most of the day giving her a good clean (even though she is in excellent condition) and working out how to put her all together and watching YouTube videos to work out how to warp her, as it is all different from what I am currently used to.  I even ordered some new reeds and an extra heddle block.  She came with 5 reeds, but as I am not really using anything under 7.5 dent I am selling two of them on Marketplace.  I ordered an Ashford varident reed for her plus two others so I can do double width weaving.  The Ashford reeds fit Kromski looms and they are less expensive than the Kromski ones.  I ordered them from George Weil and they arrived the next day!  What a difference sending something by first class post makes.  Right now I just have her sitting in the lounge while I get started on the scarf for my daughter’s birthday (which is today) and which will be late.  Her twin brother will get his in time as the parcel arrived in the USA a week ago.

So, what is the bonus piece of equipment?

I purchased an Eel Wheel E-spinner that the lady didn’t want anymore.  She is trying to down size and didn’t use it much.  I have 9 bobbins, all the power supplies and a portable power pack, an extra motor and tension thingy.  It actually spins very nicely.  There is a control dial to control the speed of the flyer and a button to choose the direction of your twist.  This is not really for spinning chunky yarns, but I won’t be plying 2-ply on this.  The wheel takes a bit of getting used to, but it is really easy, light and portable.  I could easily do some spinning while sitting on the sofa watching TV.  I did some more spinning on this this morning and it did conk out on me, but I think that the little motor got over heated.  I went back to it later to check it out and the flyer was turning as before.  There is a FaceBook group for this wheel, so if I have any issues, I will be able to get help.

I also got a new book that finally arrived after weeks of waiting.  It is called Get Spun, The Step-by-Step Guide to Spinning Art Yarns, by Symeon North (2010).  I purchased it second hand and it is in very good condition.  This is not your typical book for spinning art yarns that one would expect.  I think most people would be disappointed in this book as it doesn’t really address a lot of the fancy things you can do with yarn like making beehives and such.  In fact, I have a better book for that listed in my book section.  Art yarn doesn’t have to be fancy.  It just needs intention.  There are sections on carding and dyeing and spinning and how to finish the yarn.  There is quite a detailed section on spinning a thick single and this is where I think my e-spinner will come in really handy as you can really slow the speed on the flyer which can be difficult with a treadle.  I do have intentions for making fancy art yarns, but I am currently happy with the 2-ply I have been producing so far.

So that is what I have been up to and why it has been quiet on the blogging and FB front.  Although I took some circular tapestry weaving with me I never got a chance to do any as we were too busy and it got dark early.  It was really nice to get away and visit a part of England that I have only ever driven past on the way to Scotland.  However, it is always good to come back home. 🙂