Monday, 25 July 2011

Indigo Dyeing (Photo Heavy)

I promised last time I would tell you about the indigo dyeing session we had at the house of one of the Sanday Spinners. It has taken me some time to post it, as we have our granddaughters up for a holiday, so very little time is left for sewing. 

One of the ladies bought an indigo dye kit years ago, and it was decided we would all be able to dye something, as the kit allowed for 2-3 kg to be dyed. The link for the dyeing instructions are here, and if you scroll down the page you will see how we proceeded. 

We met for a short time the night before the session, to make up the stock solution and used a yoghurt flask to maintain the temperature.

The next morning the stock solution was mixed with water and spectralite in a large plastic tub, whilst the fibre was soaked in water, prior to dyeing.

The yarn was tied to a pole, slowly lowered into the mix and very gently agitated. Prevention of oxidization of the water was paramount, so someone had to raise the yarn out the mix, whilst the yarn was squeezed under the liquid, to prevent oxidized drips going back into the tub. This sounds really complicated, but it worked well. We had plenty of opportunities to have tea and cake, when we had to wait to go onto the next stage

I decided I did not want to dye spun yarn as such, so I washed and carded some fleece and borrowed a dizz, so that I could make some pencil roving. I also brought some commercial thread, silk hankies for spinning, silk throwers waste and a carrier rod. You can also see the rest of the fibre the other ladies dyed, below.  

Hope you enjoyed this.
Till next time

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Too Pooped to Pop! (photo heavy!)

I've had a really busy time since I last posted here. I think I told you about the Sanday Soulka Weekends, which have been happening each month. We have just had the Wrecks and Signals Weekend, and it was thoroughly enjoyable. The Sanday Spinners were having an Open studio, at one of the members' conservatories, so I decided to make some things for sale. I dyed a whole lot of fleece with Kool Aid, carded it and made up some bags with fleece and co-ordinating beads. I also machine embroidered some bags. 

(Sorry about the quality and I forgot to photograph the other designs!) 
Three of the embroidered bags sold, but nobody was interested in the beady fleece bags. 
Here you can see my husband having a go at carding. You can see some of the carded fleece in the background, some drying on my ruler shelf and some soaking in the sink. It is great fun to do, and I want to go on to natural dyeing from here.
Back to the Soulka Weekend. We had a talk on shipwrecks then a concert  with Frank Keenan and Logan's Well on the Friday. On the Saturday I went spinning and met some visitors to Sanday, who had come over for the Soulka. 
We went on a tour of the buildings which were left over from the war. Seemingly the army requisitioned some land and the islanders did not know what was going happening in the camp. It was extremely top secret. The first building we saw was the morgue -

Only two people were killed on the island during the war, and the bodies were brought into this building.

 There are still no details about what happened here during the war, but it was supposedly extremely important. This building was enormous, and it was surrounded by mines. The army was supposed to get rid of them after the war, but the farmer had to drag a wheel behind the back of a tractor and set it going, so that he wasn't blown up tilling the ground.

The shaped concrete at the front was where the diesel was housed.
This was a communication shelter, and would have had a huge antenna on top. 
After this, we had a lecture on the Rev. M Armour, who sought land reform for the crofters in Sanday.
(The following pictures are not mine. I forgot to take my camera with me!)

The Kirkwall City Pipe Band played (and marched!) in the school playground later, and then we had another concert inside. 

It was fantastic!! The pipe band leader was really funny and so enthusiastic!! He said music and learning music should be fun and the concert definitely was!! We then had a dance and at 11.30pm a huge supper was brought out, sandwiches, pizza, sausage rolls, pies and cakes. The next day they played again, but less formally (grin!!)
What a difference!! There was a 7km run in the afternoon, a balloon race and more music from the band. I have only told you about the things we attended, but there were loads of other things on offer, including Open Studios, talks and workshops. What a weekend!!

Last night and this morning the Sanday Spinners did some indigo dyeing. I will tell you about it in the next post. We have had glorious weather recently. We went for a walk on the beach and had a paddle. Then I came home and had a snooze!!

Till next time.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Videos and Apology

I thought you would like to see one of our sheep and the ram being shorn by one of our friends. Ian is in great demand to shear the sheep on the island. We were given these sheep last year as 'caddy lambs'. A caddy lamb is a lamb that has been rejected by its mother, or the sheep has had a multiple birth and cannot cope with all the mouths to feed. We (or should I say my husband) hand reared the lambs. The ram was supposed to have been 'done', but he grew into an imposing beast and fathered twin lambs this year! One of the twins was rejected, so we started hand feeding again, and got some more caddy lambs for company.

I am sorry I have been off Blogger for so long. My patchwork friend Pat died recently. I have known Pat for more than thirty five years. She was like a second Mum to me and was a great support when my own lovely Mum died. She was great fun, a fantastic sewer,  a font of knowledge and I loved her dearly. She will be sadly missed.

My father-in-law also died two weeks ago. He was suffering with Alzheimer's, and came to live with us before it was properly diagnosed. Unfortunately he did not like living in Orkney, as he had lived in Glasgow for sixty years, and missed the hustle and bustle of city life (if we get two cars in a row, it is a traffic jam!) Dad was an extremely intelligent man, who helped and cared for people throughout his life. He will be sadly missed as well.

Sorry this has been a sad post, but things are definitely more cheerful now. We have new lambs, ducklings and goslings, I have been out in the studio and the sun is shining. What more can you ask for?
Till next time.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Back Again.(Photo Heavy)

Edit - this is the third time I have tried to post this! You know what they say - third time lucky!!
Sorry I have been so long posting. A great deal has been happening here, and I have not felt like posting worries (as well as losing posts into the ether!).

We went off island recently. We were going down to a joint birthday party for my grandchildren. My husband, who was an entertainer before he retired, said he would do one final party, so we combined that with a lot of other things that needed done.
In the summer, we are able to take the Hamnavoe ferry from Stromness (Orkney Mainland) to Scrabster (Scotland), and sleep on board overnight. We went onboard after 9pm and had a very comfortable cabin with an en suite and a breakfast as well. I get a lovely sleep, but I feel awful as soon as the ferry moves at 6am, and I have yet to manage the cooked breakfast in the dining room.
I was really excited this trip, as I was going to meet one of my new Internet friends. Elly lives in Thurso, and I met her through Rosa, who was such a good support when my sister was ill. Elly was such fun! We met up for coffee and we sat and nattered for an hour. I could have sat there all day, but we needed to get on our way.
The picture above was taken in Inverkeithing. We took our granddaughter to a park, whilst we were waiting for our other GD. There appeared to be a pit dungeon in the foreground and two dungeons dug out of the rock at the rear. I have no info on these, but hope to find out more soon. The weather had just turned a bit warmer, and I managed to catch this butterfly sunning itself.
The party went well, and you can see 'Mr Tubbs' with the party girls - the ones on the left in each picture -

 and here is the other granddaughter with Granddad!
The hotel where we stay in Penicuik has such a peaceful lounge I always want to do some applique, when I see the windows.

We brought the two older girls back with us, and they (and we) had a great time. The weather was cold, but that did not damp the enthusiasm. They are back home now, but things have been a bit hectic. Hopefully, things will quieten down soon (and this post will post!!!!)
Till next time,