Never say Never!

Anyone who has taken my Fleece to Yarn class will no doubt remember that of all the processes involved in turning fleece to yarn, washing raw fleece is my absolute least favourite. However, last week whilst in Cornwall I was presented with an opportunity too good to miss.

Shearing was a-happening just a few miles away from our caravan, and due to appalling market conditions for the wool business in the UK at the moment, the fleeces were available for a mere £2 each. I was happy to pay for the fleeces (and would have paid more). My contribution to the farmer’s income may have been small but I did need some more fibre for teaching workshops and my thoughts were that if I can do any more to share the skills and keep the hand-spinning craft going then that would probably be a more valuable contribution toward sheep farming and the wool trade as my piddly financial input could ever be.

Freshly sheared, cross-bred Texel / Suffolk ewes

So I went along (truth is, my navigation skills are DIRE and so I “encouraged” my daughter to drive me to the farm) where we met the lovely ewes and bought a couple of fleeces, literally straight off the sheep and still warm.

Having brought them home, I had to face the washing. As I’ve said, I don’t enjoy washing raw fleece. Yes I enjoy the end result but… well ….. you know …… Sheep Sh*t………

So, I decided to try a different (for me) approach. Several of my friend have tried the SUINTING method of cleaning fleece and with multiple reports of sweet-smelling (yes really) success, I thought I would give it a go. Off to B&M Bargains for a watertight, lidded barrel I went, intending to put a whole fleece in there, and if it worked to my satisfaction, repeating the exercise with the second fleece. However, I decided that stuffing a whole fleece into the barrel I had bought would not leave enough room for enough water to thoroughly do its thing so I tore the first one in half and added the water.

Just have to wait at least 6 weeks now to see if the method is as good as promised. Come back soon to see my results!

Family Workshop

I had the pleasure of teaching an (almost) family to spin at the Rural Skills Centre last weekend. Gill, her daughter Esther and her bestie Alex had been waiting for FIFTEEN MONTHS since they originally booked thanks to Covid shenanigans so they were really looking forward to the day. It was Gill’s first trip out (aside from a few vital shopping trips) since the first lockdown so we tried extra specially hard to make it a good day for her.

Happy to say she was thrilled with her her results (pictured above proudly showing off her mini-skein) and told me she’d had a very enjoyable day so I feel that my work there was done! Esther and Alex who were so cute they had matching bestie dinosaur tattoos said they’d had a reallly cool day and between the three of them, they produced more yarn than any other group that I’ve ever taught.

Here’s to the next one!

Sunshine and Spinning

The sun shone down on three fledgling spinners (and two tutors – thank you Teresa, my able and gifted assistant for the day!) on Saturday 12th June when the first post-lockdown Woolly Workshop got under way.  We couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather and as it was so sunny and bright it was easy to keep all the doors and windows open in order to keep fresh air circulating.  

Indoors and outdoors, we washed, carded, spun, plyed and wound our way through the day, picking up oodles of types of wool, tools, lingo, skills (and cake!) as we went.  The new drop spindles proved very popular and by the end of the day we were all tired (but inspired) and I was very happy to be able to call the day a success.  Check out the pictures below to see us all in action!

New course date and a fervent wish for better weather!

Hi everyone,

I hope you are all fit and well and enjoyed the summer – it was on a Tuesday this year!

I jest of course but what IS true is that Woolly Workshops are recommencing. The first date at the Rural Skills Centre in Cardiff is Sunday 27th June. At the time of writing there are 2 places left and you can click HERE to book yours.

I have however, slipped a workshop in before this one, at home in Caerphilly. It will run on Saturday 12th June and you can book by clicking HERE.

I’m very much hoping that that “Summer” will have found its feet by the 12th so that we can have all the doors open and work outside as much as possible but as we all know, this is Wales and it is just as likely to be wet as not wet, and with that in mind I am limiting the places to 4 so that we can manage social distancing more easily. Hand sanitizer will be provided and I am asking that all participants wear a face mask whilst inside. (You may remove your mask to eat cake. Obviously!)

So, spread the word, the sheep is back!

Gina xx

Hello?

Hello? Is anybody there? ….

. . . . cos I have Nooooooooooze!!

Word on the street is that from May 3rd, here in Wales, “indoor activities for up to 15 people” will be permitted!  Know what that means?  Yes!  Woolly Workshops can resume.  I can hardly believe it but I’m going to book some dates in before somebody tells me it’s not true!

The pre-planned dates at the Rural Skills Centre will now go ahead, the first one being Sunday June 27th.   Head over HERE to book your place.

I’m still waiting for the planned workshop at Ammonite Yarns to have a confirmed date so keep checking here for details or head over to Ammonite’s workshop page HERE.

In addition to these dates, I’m working on slotting in some dates here in Caerphilly.  Watch this space for details.

Can’t wait to start planning and preparing for classes again – See THIS PAGE for full details of what’s on offer and do contact me if you have any preferred dates that you’d like me to consider for you.

See you soon!

Gina

It’s all gone a bit hatstand…

Following on from Hedwina’s obsession last week with Viking Helmets, this week she has turned her attentions to children’s character hats, namely Po from The Teletubbies and Bing Bunny.  Strictly speaking they are too small for her but she has been very helpful modeling them for photos, particularly when I was personalising one of them which involved me sticking her with several pins.  It all worked out for the best in the end though and one little girl will soon be the proud owner of her own Po hat, complete with matching Tubbiefeet.

I’ve had a lot of fun designing and making these hats, just in time for early Christmas shoppers and have been writing up the patterns ready for sale in the shop early next year.

If you have a little Teletubbie or Bing Bunny fan that deserves a warm and smooshy hat and boots for Christmas, keep an eye out for shop updates which should hopefully include Laa Laa and Tinky Winky sets.  If I can find the right colour green yarn, Dipsy will follow!

 

Gina 

 

2nd Lockdown Activity

No, I haven’t actually lost the plot. This is what I do when I’m trying to avoid losing the plot – making projects that basically, are silly Christmas gift ideas. I know I never actually went out a great deal before lockdown 2 here in Wetter-Than-A-Haddock’s-Bikini, (also known as Wales) but there’s something about being told you can’t, that makes you want to.

Anyway, I am determined this second time around, to use the time wisely and profitably so I have started to apply Search Engine Optimisation to this website.

“That sounds boring!” I hear you all cry. And do you know what? You’re right. It is soooooooooh boring but I hear it’s essential so I’mma doing it! I would much rather being taking photos of baby viking helmets that will soon be for sale in the shop but I’m nothing if not diligent so I’m SEOing like a loon.

Pity poor Gina for all she wants to do is crochet viking hats for babies and write crochet patterns.

With grateful credit to pattern writers Kat Kennedy of TwistedK.com for the baby hat pattern, to Reckless Stitches for the adult hat pattern and to Melissa Campbell of Totally Stitching for the beard pattern.

She comes from a land of the ice and snow

I’m having a lot of fun making my latest commission pieces. Hedwina wasn’t too impressed on the first fitting but once this helmet was done she loved it and it’s been difficult to persuade her to take the beard off at all.

Different sizes will be available in the shop in the run up to Christmas so check back regularly when you start thinking about Christmas shopping.

With credit to very talented Kat Kennedy of TwistedK.com for the baby hat pattern, to Reckless Stitches for the adult hat pattern and to Melissa Campbell of Totally Stitching for the beard pattern.

New Date for Workshop at Ammonite Yarns

As workshops are unable to go ahead in South Wales right now I have been making best use of the time by moving and completely rebuilding the website from the ground up, so much so that I feel like my eyes are square and my laptop is begging for a break.

Hedwina

The site has become much larger in that the Spring Mill Terrace shop pages have been added, tested, retested, proof read to the max and retested again and I’m hoping that very soon I will be able to declare them “done” so that sales can be made directly from here instead of via the Etsy shop.

Hedwina has been helping by modelling knitted garments and giving advice here and there but she’s not of much use in a practical sense so I shall be glad when all this techie stuff is done and I have time to crack open the dye pots again.

In the meantime, I have spoken with Jenny and Ruth at Ammonite Yarns about rearranging the workshop postponed from 4th October and the course will now go ahead (Covid permitting) on Saturday January 23rd 2021.

There are places left so click here if you would like to book.

Off to Germany

Not me – but this lovely winter warmers set which I have just finished for a friend and customer.

I have really enjoyed making this commission piece for my lovely ex-colleague Sophia. Not just the knitting but the collaboration on colours, yarn and patterns, seeing it all come together and adding my own adaptations to make the finished garments perfect for their new owner.

If you are interested in commissioning a piece of unique clothing, made especially for you please do get in touch.