Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Baubles - August 2016

A couple of years ago, when I was running my old business when I used to make tea cosies, hats, scarves, gloves etc I came up with the idea of crocheting designs over the top of plain baubles.  I started purchasing baubles when they were on discount immediately after Christmas and looking for the right threads to use with them.  I knew what I wanted to use and so started buying what I could find on Ebay and car boot sales etc.  This is how I have so much Twilley's Goldfingering in so many different colours.  I never did get round to actually making the baubles and so I decided that as the designs were going to be lace that they would actually fit in with my shop as a Christmas range.

I'm just going to put the photos of the finished items in the order that I made them as I didn't take any work-in-progress photos.  Smooth baubles can be slippery to work with, especially when you are trying to crochet closed the design around them as with most of the designs require the cover to be put onto the bauble at a certain point so that the design then closes in around the bauble as you work so it can no longer get in or out without undoing the design.  Glitter covered baubles are a nightmare in that the design can get hooked up on the glitter, making it difficult to pull it on over the bauble and you also get covered in glitter in doing so.  The upside of Glitter covered baubles is that the crochet generally clings to the bauble so as you work the bauble is not constantly trying to escape.

These are what I made in August 2016, with a few that I made earlier in the year when I was working out patterns and sizing.

60mm silver glitter baubles with vintage Twilley's Goldfingering

70mm silver glitter baubles with vintage Twilley's Goldfingering

80mm black glitter baubles with vintage turquoise Twilley's Goldfingering

80mm green smooth and textured baubles with vintage green Twilley's Goldfingering

80mm brown glitter, smooth and textured baubles with vintage brown Twilley's Goldfingering

80mm blue smooth and textured baubles with vintage blue Twilley's Goldfingering
80mm gold, cerise and black glitter baubles with matching vintage Twilley's Goldfingering

80mm gold, cerise and black glitter baubles with vintage Twilley's Goldfingering
80mm soft pink baubles with vintage burgundy Twilley's Goldfingering

80mm lime green smooth and textured baubles with vintage black/bronze Twilley's Goldfingering

80mm silver matt baubles with vintage bold coloured Twilley's Goldfingering

80mm black glitter baubles with vintage pastel coloured Twilley's Goldfingering

80mm smooth duck egg baubles with white Twilley's Goldfingering
80mm textured duck egg baubles with white Twilley's Goldfingering

80mm cerise glitter baubles with vintage gold Twilley's Goldfingering

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Getting chickens and harvesting the vegetables

We are back from our camping holiday just outside of Wells, Gloucestershire and have been and got some chickens.  We have been advised that our house should be able to accommodate 4 chickens so we have chosen 4 different breeds.  Ranger the ginger one, Bluebell the grey one, Sussex the white one and Rocky Road the black one.  We have called them Ginger, Annie, Star and Roxsy.

The place we had them from has a return policy whereby if you have any problems with any or all of the chickens you can take them back within a given period of time.  We had issues with Rocksy, the black Rocky Road chicken where she was squawking loud all of the time and physically attacking the other hens to the point of there being blood everywhere.  We took her back and she was put in a special "ASBO" enclosure that they have for problem chickens, where they can keep an eye on their behaviour.  Our hen house became peaceful with the other hens getting along together really well with Ginger, the smallest of them, being in charge.
As you can see, our raised vegetable bed is green, with the runner beans being good producers.  The variety are "Gigantica" I think they were called, my father-in-law got them for us and they are big runner beans.  Quite a lot of them have grown in funny shapes due to lack of growing room and with me being only small I have to keep getting step ladders out to reach the tops of the bean plants and find all these beans that have been "trapped" and grown weird.

Whilst their plants have produced beans for them ours have gone mad and I've been harvesting them twice a week, cooking half of them and blanching/freezing the other half.  We have over 11lb of sliced green beans in our freezer so you imagine what kind of crop we have had this year, so many in fact that when I close my eyes at night that is all I see, they've even been calling to me and they must know my name as they have grown in shapes of the letters, J U L I.  They obviously come unstuck when it came to the last letter though but I suppose growing in the shape of an "a" is a tall order.  Amazing!

Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the cabbage and cauliflower.  We have not had anything from them as we have been blighted with millions, and I mean millions, of caterpillars.  I got excited and took a photo of a purple cauliflower as it started to grow but it didn't get much bigger than that before it was covered in caterpillars.

We did plant some potatoes in bags and we did get a few from those but not very many.  Tomatoes, we had a few but mostly the insects got to them before we did.  We did get a few beetroot and carrots though.  Its the first time either of us have grown vegetables and its a big learning curve but at least the chickens are laying eggs so we have a ready supply of fresh eggs to enjoy.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Lincoln Longwool - Softly Solid Jade

I brought this from The Fibre Fairy back in October 2012.  I bought 4 different large braids from her and this is only the second lot that I have spun up so far.  My other one to date was the green Polwarth wool.  The Fibre Fairy appears to have closed down the business, which is probably why I got so many bargains.

Being so happy with the result of my spinning and dying of the Lincoln Longwool lamb's fleece I decided to try this Lincoln Longwool in shade "softly solid jade".  There is 345g of fibre here, that is a big braid of combed fibre.

I started spinning this way back on 9th June and I separated it out into 3 fairly even amounts and then each of those amounts into two as I spun up each little bag, and its taken until 9th August to finish spinning it all.  It was quite compacted and hard work to spin, made a lot easier by pulling it apart as best as I could to loosen all the fibres out.  I made 3 skeins of 2-ply yarn.  Its not as nice as the Lincoln Longwool that I dyed and spun myself from raw fleece and doesn't have anywhere near the same amount of lustre, which it should have if enough care had been taken during the dying process, which judging by the lack of lustre and how it has compacted I would guess has not happened in this case.

All three skeins have come out as sport weight yarn and are 107g/269m, 111g/263m and 107g/258m and will be used together to make one large shawl.