Sunday, 31 July 2011

Felt Workshop

As you know I have been using good old Orkney fleece and Kool Aid to dye some wool for felting. My daughter has been running story workshops, with the children making the characters out of felt. I am going to send her down some samples of fleece to play with - these are the latest to come out of the crock pot -
The weather has not been very good the last few days, so the girls and I thought we would take part in a felt workshop. I was really looking forward to it. I had bought the sponge and the felting needles from Ebay, and the sponge was sent in a nice box.The needle were sent in corrugated cardboard, because they are so sharp, and I think this is a good way of storing them. (sorry about the picture - I was rushing!!)
The nice thing about it was we did not have to leave home, because the teacher was staying with me. You've guessed it - it was my eldest granddaughter, who is eight. She had had a lot of felting lessons, so she taught me how to make a 3D toadstool, and my other granddaughter, who is six, made one as well.
It was great fun and she was a very positive teacher, giving lots of praise to both of us. Here are the end results. Mine is at the back. They all have stems on them, but I wasn't taking good pictures today.

As I said previously, the weather is cold and wet today, so I have been looking at the pictures from last week and sighing -

And just to give you a laugh - we are being careful with our ponies, keeping them off the grass, in case they get laminitis, so they are either in the stable or the field shelter. What a long-suffering look on the the pony's face, but he still let the hen stay!
Till next time.

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.