Archive for March, 2009

Almost April in Paris

We have just spent a long weekend with our son and his family in Paris. We travelled on Eurostar and rented an appartment. lt wasn’t quite April  but just a few days before. The aim was to introduce the city to the children aged 9, 7 and 18 months. So we needed to think tourism from a  little persons point of view. The sun shone ( sometimes) and it was quite chilly, but we did lots. Sailed model boats on the pond in the Jardin du Luxumburg,  sent the  older 2 children up the Eiffel Tower, and ate falafel in the Rue de Rosiers.

 We negotiated the Metro and bus system with a baby buggy, 4 adults and 3 children. I am exhausted and now crashed out at home trying to regain some life energy!!! But it was worth it.

Luke (number 2 son) had put in a request for a red scarf to wear in the summer and to take over from the black herringbone one I wove at Christmas.. In the few days before travelling I wove a pink scarf with left over Cottolin and some ecru cotton. Not ideal but it just happens to match a new pinkish sweater he had bought,  which was lucky as I didn’t know he had it.


This was taken at Shakespeare bookshop on the Left Bank. An amazing English language bookshop where you can browse, play the piano, and write a novel !!!!


The scarf is just visible, though all scrunched up. Despite excessive scrunch it looked chic and kept the wind out.




Through the shop window there is this qintessential view of Notre Dame





Once recovered I will rejoin my weaving journey.

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Drowning in Fleeces

I had been putting off writing this post until I had completed my Summer and Winter cushion covers. I intended to have pictures of them all in a row sewn up and looking good.  However a discovery in the attic has taken up my time and attention!!

I was looking for spare duvets in a small attic cupboard which I never look in normally. To my horror (initial) I discovered 3 bags of unwashed fleeces which we brought with us when we moved here 14 years ago. We had lived in a remote water mill with 7 acres and had sheep. I learnt to spin and thought I would have time to spin them. A new life took over and I completely forgot them. I haven’t used my spinning wheel since then.

There was no sign of moth or other disaster. So I decided to wash them and if OK spin them. For the last weeks I have been washing drying , carding and spinning. The wool seems OK.  Two are Suffolks and rather harsh the other is a Border Leicester cross and has long staples and is lustrous. Its excellent spinning practice. I am gradually perfecting my tecnique and the yarn is becoming more even and thinner. Thinner being the operative word. I am a spinning novice and had been rather pleased with my early spinning results which were actually lumpy bumpy and very horrid.  I prefer thin yarn. My goal is thin enough to knit a Shetland lace shawl, and with all this practical spinning time I may get there.I am amazed that the old adage ‘ practice makes perfect’ is actually true. I am becoming physically more adept and my body is learning the rhythm and feel of the process.

img_2013This is a kind of still life of my present predicament. Bags of dirty fleece buckets of water and baskets of fluffy clean wool.

I am going to have to dye all this which I havn’t done before. I have bought a book on Natural Dyes and have started to store onion skins!! I want to grow some Woad and Madder as well but at the moment don’t know where to get plants but I have found a seed merchant who has seeds.

Spinning seems a very slow process and I am attempting to devote an hour a daty otherwise I will never transform all this fibre into usable yarn. I would like to weave with it and make some clothes. I have seen a wonderful heavy tweed shirt which is sold as weatherproof for outdoor activities such as bird watching. I would love to weave one!!!


 I have finished the cushion covers but have only pinned them together at the moment. I have been fascinated at the way different colours have interacted with the warp which included a coral pink which I disliked, but I think it has been subdued by the weft.


I think they will look smarter when sewn up and I am going to make them a little smaller. I want them tight and plump on the cushion pads!  I wove the smaller light one for my mothers 90th birthday present. Then I wished I hadn’t because I really like the three together. I had a tussle with myself and then repented and made another warp and wove myself one and have enough to weave another colourway as well. Its still in progress.

These are the colours in more detail


The coral has almost vanished. This one is greeny brown and rather subdued.It was the first one I wove.








This is red and vivid and was quite a surprise. Its a great contrast to the rather sombre green one .






This one is calm and gentle and was woven for my mother (who is none of those things!) but I like the trio and I am weaving another (and another!)




This is a short post as there is  too much to do. I am going to a Guild meeting on Saturday. I think I will take my wheel and start talking to the spinners. I had thought of myself as a weaver but now I can wear two hats. Come the summer I might be a dyer too……..

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