A Week Before Working

So, it has been an interesting week.  Last weekend the hubs and I got our covid boosters.  It was strange that we weren’t on the list when we showed up, but when I looked closer at the message confirming the appointment, we weren’t due to get them for another three weeks, but we got it anyway.  Talk about having a senior moment, at least it wasn’t just me.  Anyway, we are all jabbed up and even had our flu vaccines so we are ready for winter.

I acquired some charity shop yarn booty for about £11.  I hadn’t trawled the charity shops for awhile, so it was nice to find something last weekend.IMG_1492The big ball of red yarn is over 400g and cost less than £2.  The big ball of boucle will be used in a project on my new loom.  As much as I would like to use 100% wool yarn, I am no longer purchasing any new skeins, so if I find something interesting that I can use from the charity shop, then I will buy it to go with my handspun yarn.  The Firenze yarn is from Jaeger and is 97% wool.  I also have some blue ribbon and a ball of nubby cotton.  The 3 white balls are very soft and probably acrylic.  It’s hit and miss if there isn’t a label.  The other white skein is courtelle which is the original name for acrylic, meant to imitate wool, so it is probably old.  Although it isn’t ideal to make things from acrylic, and I would prefer to use natural products, I see no reason not to purchase it from the charity shops.  After all, you give to charity and the product is already made, so no reason not to use it.  As for being someone who has issues wearing certain wool items, I am not going to be judgemental about it.

I made some Christmas cakes.  We might get to see some family this year.  I use a recipe from The Vegetarian Epicure, by Anna Thomas.  Americans call it fruit cake and I have made many versions of it over the years.  I like it better than English fruitcake as it is quite boozy and not so many currants.  The cake part is also a bit lighter.

I made two small ones pictured above and one large one for the hubs and I.  I shall give my daughter one.  Because of the booze, the cake will also last a long time.  I have had one for a year that I forgot about and it was still moist and potent. 

I also made some pickled onions for the first time in two years as we recently ran out of them.IMG_1493I never used to like picked onions until I made my own.  I usually use shallots, but I ran out and had to make the difference up with some small onions.  I tend to add brown sugar to the vinegar to make it on the sweet side as I find it very sour.  These will also be spicy as I add a small handful of bird’s eye chilis to the jar along with other spices.  I actually have three jars of these which should be ready in time for Christmas, but they do taste best the longer you leave them.  They are very nice with cheese.

I visited the Emma Mason Gallery which just happened to be around the corner from me.  Someone had shared a link on one of the FB groups as there was an exhibition of Tadek Beutlich.  I had never heard of him before, but he was a printmaker as well as an innovative weaver.Downloads-002

DownloadsWe were allowed to take photos.  This work was mainly done in the 1970’s.  Although not my taste, a lot of work has gone into these pieces.  

I spun up the last of the Christmas blend which was just over 100g.  If I were to ever order this again, I think I would have it without the silk as I think the colors would be sharper.  I do love it as it is really soft and squishy.IMG_1526

I also finished another Christmas scarf.Downloads-003I changed things up a bit for this scarf.  I used the 7.5 dent reed above instead of the 5 dent reed that I used below.DownloadsYou can see the difference what size the reed makes as I used the same yarn on both of the scarves above.  I am still learning and playing around.  The scarf below is still very soft and flexible.Downloads-003I watched the Kelly Casanova video on how to make Christmas trees, but I couldn’t figure out how to make just one, so I embroidered one instead. I probably need to watch the video again a few times.  It would be a nice thing to add a whole row of trees for a border, but I would also need to work out how to make it at the other end of scarf.  I am guessing that you would do it in reverse.  In the meantime, an embroidered one will have to suffice.  I also did something very different to the fringe.  I tried a bit of macramé.  It was time consuming, but I really like it.  This scarf still needs some finishing, but I am waiting until I make some more scarves.  I have two left to make.  By finishing off a few at the same time, I can save energy and water.

We had our November Guild meeting early this month.  It was spinning day.  I demonstrated how to blend fiber on the blending board and make rolags.Downloads2-008Everyone was impressed with the blending board the hubs made.  I can’t believe that I’ve had it for two years now!  I wrote a blog post about the blending board and how it was made.  I have to say that I don’t use the blending board much these days now that I have a drum carder.  The drum carder is more versatile and makes a bigger batt for spinning.  I also don’t lay out felt the way I used to and would no longer make felting batts to make a scarf.  In some ways the blending board is a bit redundant for me, but it is also good to have for spinning color combos in small amounts.  We had some visitors at the meeting who had never seen a blending board before.  A blending board is much less expensive than a drum carder.  So, if you are on a budget, a board is a good start.

IMG_1527I brought wool and fibers in the colors I will be adding to my next big project (once I finish making Christmas scarves).  One lady had some sari silk fibers that she didn’t know what to do with, so we made some mini rolags of the silk and some Romney she had.  Her hubs is an engineer, so I think we know what she might be getting for Christmas this year.  I also showed her how to make mini-rolags on a carding brush in the meantime.  One of the other ladies showed her how to spin woollen from the rolag, which she hadn’t done before and the singles were really pretty.  I demonstrated the batch of rolags at the bottom of the photo for color blending.  The batch on the right was made by one of the visitors, whose name is Rosie.  After a few tries, she got the knack.  Rosie has a drum carder, so now she has a few ideas for blending fiber on it.  I wish I had taken a photo of her scarf, which is freeform style, that was made on a Brinkley loom.  I just googled it today and am very intrigued by it and wouldn’t mind having one myself.  The rest of the day was spent showing the ladies different fibers and where they can get them.  We also talked about the different ways we spin and what we use the yarn for, so I really don’t feel bad about the way I spin my yarn and people seemed to like what I make from it.  I wore my big pink infinity scarf as it was finally cold enough to do so.Downloads-001

My friend Anna demonstrated plying a boucle yarn and had some that she was selling.  She makes it look so easy.  There are many ways to ply boucle yarn.  I bought a digital copy of The Boucle Issue by Ply magazine.  Once I have some time, I shall give it a go as you can even make it with commercial yarn and I have some very thin yarn that really isn’t suitable for weaving with.  It is so much nicer having someone show you how to do something than trying to figure it out from a book or video.  Though saying that, Anna has a video about it on YouTube.  It actually makes more sense to me now that I saw her in action.  All in all, the Guild meeting went really well.  I spun up the rolags into a single today as I was feeling rather tired.  I will ply it and finish it off for show and tell for the next meeting.

I have a new contract starting on Monday that should keep me busy for a few weeks.  It is only 6 hours a day, but I can’t turn down work right now and the money would be really helpful.  This means that hobbies are going to be relegated to the back burner for the time being.  So, until then, happy crafting!


4 thoughts on “A Week Before Working

  1. Good luck with your new employment – it will seriously hamper your creative pursuits but bills have to be paid.

    What a lovely week you’ve had – your onions and cakes look delicious – and your charity finds are fab.

    The tree detail on your Christmas scarf is a lovely finishing touch!

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    1. Thank you! I had my first day at work and it seems that I can work from home a few days! No time constraints either as long as I get my hours in, so I might have a chance to start something before the weekend! 🙂

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