Monday, 31 May 2010

Work and Play

On Saturday I met up with the Expedition Quilt Art girls, Trudi and I are both racing to finish City and Guild courses, Tina (who has done it and got the t-shirt) offered support and encouragement. The carrot on our stick was to have tea at a local cafe attached to Doddington Hall. I worked hard on my sketchbook for my 3D assessed work and Trudi was working on some crazy patchwork. So after lots of work and no play

We went out to have cake, we only stopped at 4.15pm as the cafe closed at 5pm! Despite living In Lincolnshire for many years I have never been there before but look what we got, home made carrot cake and they could offer me a skinny, decaffeinated latte.

The cafe is in a converted barn next to the main Hall and Trudi said the gardens are fantastic. Unfortunately by the time we had eaten our cake it was raining quite hard but we did manage a quick peek out into the courtyard. My favourite colours at the moment are purple and lime green, just look what Mother Nature has done with these colours. It is not a close up as I was safely under the covered area when I took this.
This was the only photo I got of the main Hall. Doddington Hall is a very fine late Elizabethan Mansion, completed in 1600, it was built by Robert Smythson. I was so impressed that I am going to try and go back over the Summer.
If you know Lincolnshire you will probably realise it is very flat but we do have The Wolds and an occasional hill. One of these I drive up and down whenever I go over to Lincoln to teach or see friends. At the top is a small layby which has a great view of the open countryside. In five or so years I have never stopped so as the sun was finally coming out when Tina and I left Trudi we decided to head over there. It was still misty but we got a great view.

These images are going straight into my sketchbook. I love all the cow parsley growing everywhere at the moment. It is such a delicate flower but makes me think of the fens. I even have some in my garden which must have seeded after help from the birds.
After getting home and once I had played Wii fit with DS2 I managed to get back to my sketchbooks so with fingers crossed I might be able to start making up my bag by this weekend.

Sunday, 23 May 2010


If you want to chance to win this fabric basket (made by myself), visit A Smallholders Diary and leave a comment. The giveaway will stay open until May 31st. Its not a great photo of it but I am in a hurry so haven't taken a better one. If anyone linking from this blog is the winner I will also throw in some sewing goodies.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Sheep Day 2010

Today was sheep day at Unique Cottage Farm studio and the sun shone, this is the studio before the crowds arrive. For some though the day started with a hair cut,

This sheep lost her woolly coat thanks to the steady hands of the shearer.

Once sheared she looked like this -

I can't remember which breed of sheep this was but she was not impressed about the whole thing, her lamb missed being sheared though.

I was demonstrating dyeing of wool, roving and everything else woolly. I used Blue Face Leicester and Merino wool. I had some very nice 4 ply superwash sock yarn which took the dye really well. Today I dyed using the microwave and I used Kentex easidye dyes. These are a fantastic dye which I would really recommend. The dye comes as crystals and you do not need to add vinegar or any other substance. After colouring the wool/fleece, cook for 10 minutes in a microwave and hey presto. You do need to use a low heat and take care not to felt the wool, the trick is to not agitate it too much whilst warm. I did go "au natural" and used some daffodil heads to create a yellow dye colour. These had been dried so they were crispy, I put some into a muslin bag and boiled in water to release the colour before putting the fleece into it. I still have the muslin and am hoping that some of the colour will stay in the fabric. I might boil in again with some cotton just to see what might happen. doing so much demonstrating meant I didn't really take any photos of what I was doing. I have brought home some wet yarn which I will photograph tomorrow.

Once nice thing about today was that I meet up with several fellow bloggers. Here are Sweetiepie and Trudi from Quilt Prolifically counting sheep.

I also meet up with Julie from Mixed Media and another lovely lady who will have to forgive me as I can't remember the name of her blog.

As well as the dyeing there were lots of very talented people spinning, weaving, knitting, and felting wool with lots of sheep paintings as well on display. I think you could even make a sheep stained glass hanging. There were also some people selling lovely things but I didn't really get a chance to have a look round.

Even Sweetiepie caught the woolly bug and started some knitting.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Twelve years ago today.......

It can't believe it was twelve years ago that DS made an unexpected entrance into the world 12 weeks early. We both needed lots of medical care for a few weeks and this photo above was the first time I saw him. I didn't see him in person until he was nearly a week old. He is now nearly as tall as me and heading towards his teenage years. How does twelve years pass by so quickly? He had great joy in telling me that in just five years time he can learn to drive.

After having a water fight with him I remembered this quote by Walt Disney,

"To many people grow up. That's the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. they forget. They don't remember what it is like to be 12 years old".

So remember you are only a old as you feel so I challenge you to, laugh, create, have a water fight, tell jokes, smile and give those you love hugs and kisses.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Wooly playtime

This evening Sweetiepie and I met up to have a go at wool dyeing. I think that I should have taken her advice about wearing gloves though. The only problem is that I am a Godmother on Sunday, anyone know where I can get some of those white cotton gloves??

We had some wool wadding, some merino fleece and some sock weigh and dk wool. We used kemtex easidye colours which gave us pale to medium shades. We were both impressed though at the colours we got.

This was the sock Blue Face Leicester which we hand painted. We tried to blend the colours together so as not to have definite stripes. It's not too clear but it was hand painted on cling film before being "cooked" in the microwave.

We used scarlet and lemon yellow. After washing the colours are just gorgeous
but I can't seem to get a good photo. The yarn is still damp but the socks are going to be fantastic. I am a slow knitter as other things get in the way so I have a small stash of sock wool. This is going to be right up there at the top though once I get going again.

Looking though my photos I took none of the wadding which we painted and "cooked". On one piece of wadding we painted with yellow and scarlet, it was then speckled with some turquoise. After cooking this became a wonderful moss green colour, very Autumnal. Sweetpie took these home, I will catch up with her next week and get some photos. We did make these small wadding swatches for my sketch book which gives an idea of colour though

This is the lemon/scarlet sock yarn with some lavender/cerise dk. Again not a great photo.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Happiness is parcels in the post

When I was sitting at home feeling sorry for myself lots of goodies arrives in the post. Can you guess what this is?

In a huge box from ASding came 30 yards of 80/20 wadding. I had got to the point of having none in the house and will be needing quite a lot for my C&G quilt. I got this with a couple of friends and I couldn't believe how much cheaper it was for us. If you have got friends to share costs with contact ASding. They were just so helpful, it came the day after I phoned them and no postage costs. You also get the bonus of lots of giggles when you open it out of the bag and it expands and the challenge of keeping count when you measure it out. Good job Sweetypie had a big room to do it in.

Another company equally worthy of a mention is Kemtex. They give out so much information over the phone and again the package arrived really swiftly. These jars contain Kemtex easidye acid dyes for wool. Lovely eye candy..

Andrea from Indigo Blue sent me an ATC in preparation for the ATC swap I have joined. She used gorgeous sheers, sequins and beads. I have this hanging in my sewing room.
Finally I had to order more of this -
So I could finish this.

It's not a great photo as DS was holding it up and trying not to giggle. I'll try and get a better one. I have built up a tradition of making my nephews and nieces a quilt for their first birthday so this is Sean's first quilt. We are all off to see him soon, I am sure he will have changed so much as as I haven't seen him since Christmas. This was originally a spilt nine patch design but then I realised that if I wanted to get all the stripes going the same way it was easier just to piece it. It did come together quickly though and for once I will not need to stay up all night finishing something. Even the label is done.