Thursday, 25 June 2015

Spinning again, and weaving?


I have just made these skeins of wool on my spinning wheel, and now I need to give them a wash to set the twist in the yarn. This wool is from one of our Jacob sheep, one of the first really good fleeces we have had from the flock, and I am so longing to get working the new fleeces, which are still sitting on a tarpaulin in the courtyard waiting to be sorted out, because several of them have some grey from the under coat which should make for an interesting colour mix.

I don't sort out the fleeces into separate colours because I don't have the time to do so, all I do is spin one fleece at at time, letting the different colours of the fleece come as they want to. Neither to I prep the wool first (wash, card, etc), again because I do not have time to faff around....I spin directly from the fleece as it comes from the sheep, but without the daggy bits, but even then I can find myself with a nobble of this or that, which I most times remove, but I am sure that some small bits escape into the yarn. Not to worry, I do wash the wool once it is made into yarn though.....

As I say, with the new fleece calling to me, I need to up the time I spend on the spinning wheel. This urge to spin has also triggered off my thoughts again about buying a rigid heddle table loom so I can weave fabric from the yarn I have already made, and this is the loom I am thinking of buying



.... and thanking Ann from Spinwise.co.uk for her helping me in this process (these photos are 'borrowed' from her website). The loom is a Kromski Harp and is 80 cm (32 inches) wide, is reasonably priced, and is light enough to be taken hither and thither wherever the urge to weave comes upon me. However, I do not have a clue about weaving, so onto Amazon to order the 'how to'  books which Ann recommended, then on to YouTube to watch the 'how to' vids. To learn new things is very good for the soul, that is what I kept telling myself as I watched those vids, and I am sure that as with all things I have already learnt, that I shall understand this new challenge in time.

Meanwhile, I need to get my stash of yarn increased ready for when I start being a trainee weaver, which gives me an excuse to sit out under the oak tree with my spinning wheel, not that I need an excuse, but I do get side tracked by other things sometimes, which really are not as important as spinning under the oak.

Most of our fleece this year is either black or brown, with some splashes of white here and there. We still have some white mixed race sheep here but for some reason the fibre in these fleeces is quite short this year, possibly because we had quite a mild winter,so the sheep did not need too much protection from the cold, so I shall probably use them for dusting the house and will not spin them......but the dark fleeces of the pure bred Jacobs do have a longer length of hair so are ideal for spinning,  but dark brown is a bit, well, dark, so Ann suggested that I leave a fleece outside so that the sunlight fades it, which I think is a good idea especially since we have mid 30's C temperatures next week....might as well take advantage of that hot sun. At least that would give different tones to the dark brown.......



The wall dividing the hall with the back kitchen is now up, and we have now ordered new front doors and have the floor tiles for the hallway. Out in the veg plot and I weeded about half a metre of a weed filled row of beetroot before I was beaten back indoors by the strength of the sun, and it is getting hotter over the next few days. All the fields look brown now, with hardly any grazing to be had by anyone, so Lester has kept the cows in for a couple of days to give them respite from the sun and flies. We think we might have to buy in hay to get the sheep and cows through to the autumn if we do not have a good quantity of rain during July. Last year it kept raining right the way through summer and everything and everyone kept getting muddy and wet. This year it is the exact opposite. Oh well, not to worry, we'll cope..........

Mostly, all is well here, and I hope your patch of the world is well as well!

Bye for now,

Vx

17 comments:

Dawn McHugh said...

Oh to have time to spin, I dusted off t spinning wheel yesterday or was it the day before and thats as far as I have got I might get round to it this weekend but then again :-)

John Gray said...

Nice to catch up with ypur normality x

Vera said...

Dawn, I am not surprised that you have not had time to use your spinning wheel after the chaotic day you had yesterday! I don't have a lot of time either, that is why I don't comb and card the wool first, so all I do is grab a bit of 'straight off the sheep' fleece, go to where the spinning wheel was last left, and spin for half an hour or so or until I need to go do something else!

John, nice to have you visit! And I shall use the expression 'my normality' in the future when I try to describe our life here on the farm to people who are clueless about farm life! Hope Wyn is holding on for you. Vx

ally said...

Hi Vera! I love spinning too! It's not really about having time or not . It's about creating something useful and beautiful and maintaining an ages old craft. Like knitting. Nothing in my average day could be more important than knitting beautiful garments. Well, beautiful to me. My children wore my hand spun, hand dyed hand knits to much admiration. This is a crazy world of cheap man made imports versus precious home made. Love and enjoy your special spinning under the oak tree. Wonderful, and I wish I could join you.

DUTA said...

"Spinning under the oak" - what a good caption for a book , a play or a painting!
I admire your thirst for learning new things, among them spinning. Good Luck with it!

Vera said...

Ally, you are right...it is easy to forget the wonderful sense of creativity that comes with making things when one is busy doing so many things. I have only recently learnt to spin, and have not made anything yet with the wool I have now got stashed away, but hopefully this winter I shall be able to make a start. I am looking forward to doing so!

Vera said...

Duta, I shall keep that title in mind then for when I start writing again!

LaPré DelaForge said...

I think Duta's idea of using the title of the post for a book is perfect...
it would certainly catch the eye on the shelves...
and it fits perfectly with what you have written about on this blog!!

In winter I get the chance to wear "Cuddle the Cardigan"...
Pauline adapted an Aran pattern into a large, cuddly cardigan using Jacob wool...
it is grandly warm and wraps around me when it is cold.
And, being dyed in the wool... it will never lose its colour.
When you finished one for Lester...
I'm sure Pauline would love to buy some skeins to knit herself something Aran-wise....
she might even swap the skeins for some Alpacca wool...

However, we haven't got any Alpaccas...
yet...
but she keeps threatening!!

And all those dags... wonderful for the garden...
we used to be able to get them, pelletized, by the 25kilo bag...
and then Joe Maiden cornered that market...
and now you have to buy his dags at £3.50 a kilo!!
And he won't do bulk bags or discounts...
even for allotments.....

So, Vera...
keep spinning...
and blame it on the sunshine, Lester and wine!!
Tim

Mizumatte said...

I like your loom, nothing I have seen before. I have a loom, but it's a big thing, nothing you just move from room to room. abd your fleece seems beautiful, I like natural colours. take care Jaana

Kerry said...

I love that you are always trying new things, but living here inspires us to do just that x

Vera said...

TIm, I was wondering how I could convince Lester to let me have an Alpacca! Nice to know, though, that Jacob wool knits up alright. At the moment I have a stash that is not being used because I am busy doing other things, but I did get some really nice fleeces off some of our sheep this year and this has inspired me to get back to spinning, and to get a move on with researching a table loom.

As for the dags,....there weren't many this year but Lester won't let me put them on the veg plot anyway because he says that the wool fibres, which the dags stick on, to tangle up his small rotovator machine!

Vera said...

Jaana, I chose a table look because it is portable, can be easily packed away when not it use, and does not cost a huge amount of money. I would love to have a bug floor loom like you have, but it would take up too much room. So you use your loom? If so, what do you make on it?

Vera said...

Kerry, you are right......living in France has opened up so many creative opportunities for me, and I could would not want to live anywhere else! I am sure that you feel the same!

My Life in the Charente said...

Great post and I cannot believe you are spinning in this heat but maybe it is a cooler job inside rather than out. Keep well Diane

Vera said...

Diane, hope you are doing alright in this heat! And yes, it is cooler indoors!

The Squirrel Family said...

I am a relatively new spinner Vera , and i love jacobs wool i have one drying in the summer house , cant believe thats not been carded such a smooth finish maybe i have been making life hard on myself .

hubby and i have both found a creative side since we moved to our dream(?!) smallholding, perhaps it comes with contentment (that and not wanting to see good stuff go to waste)

Vera said...

The Squirrel Family, oh wow! Another spinner! I started off with a drop spindle, just in case I didn't get on with spinning the wool from our sheep....like you, I didn't want to waste the fleeces, so that is what motivated me to keep on learning, mostly through watching YouTube videos. Then I bought a spinning wheel, and I did carding and made rollags but they took time to do. Also, our sheep were of mixed race so their wool was very short and did not take to being carded very easily. So one day I wanted to do some spinning, did not have time to card some up, so thought I would have a go at spinning directly from the fleece....and never looked back! Then once we got our Jacobs spinning with their fleece was even easier because of the longer hair. But I don't wash our fleece prior to spinning because I don't have the facilities to do so, but I wash it when it is spun and into hanks.

Enjoy your spinning, and it is nice to know you are making good use of the fleece...