Is it just me, or is blogland really quiet? Folks are on holiday I suppose (vacation to US readers) Poor sods - here's hoping the rain passes and we get that glorious sunshine back.

Thanks to my SP

This round of Secret Pal has been alright so far, y'know. The lady I'm spoiling did worry me a little initially, but things have picked up and it's all cool again. Seems she was going through a difficult patch, and we all have those at times. The lady spoiling me is lovely and chatty, and has just sent me a wonderful package full of goodies! Check this little lot...

Here we have:- 3 skeins of yummily soft baby Alpaca in lumber jack red from handpaintedyarn - beautiful. Will save this for a special project, methinks. And a small bottle of Eucalan which has already been tried and washes a treat. Can we get this stuff here? I've been using Kookaburra which I can't find here either...

Next up a jumbo skein of natural Pure Shetland wool by 'Chicks with Sticks' which I'm told comes from my SP's local yarn store (lucky moo) There's 4oz, 250yds and is as natural as it comes with no chemical use or pescticide. Love it! It's sooo soft :) Here we also have a little spiral, curly puzzle which Tom has taken charge of.

Finally there was a miniature, magnetic travel Scrabble - it really works! Probably best not played when under the influence though. And a DIY travel journal, for when we (finally) get on the road. Think we'll use that as a mileage/time/key points of interest log. I'm really touched by these little travel pieces. I love the wool too, don't get me wrong, but the travel stuff shows that my SP has been paying attention. Zab was the same in SP7, and it's one of the lovely things about this exchange.

SP, you're a star! Thank you so, so much :) And I hope you're feeling better.

Fibery goodness

This kid Mohair is such a dream, I just had to share it. Get a closer look at this. Isn't it lush? I bought 500g of the stuff raw from Devon Fine Fibres. They may have some smaller quantities left if anyone fancies it and it's a damn good price with ultra friendly service thrown in. The next shearing is in January and I'll definitely be putting in a larger order. I washed it using the Eucalan and within a couple of washes it was clean and ready to go - now we like fleeces that are easy to clean, don't we? I had some hand dyed kid Mohair in my stash which I core spun into a novelty yarn (it's setting, up in shop soon) and it's wonderful. Think I'll try spinning some of this fibre straight, but definitely intend to make some more novelty yarns with it.

Have also been playing with some of the North Ronaldsay purchased at WoolFest from this farm. Upon first inspection the fleece didn't look too dirty, and it wasn't as such, just an excessive lanolin problem (due to the sheep being outdoors all the time, no doubt) It took countless attempts to get it washed and only dyed a small amount intially. It took the dye so easily with strong colours - good stuff! So, I tried carding it yesterday to spin. And the few metres I spun were total pants. Probably the worst yarn I have ever created. So much so that I was beginning to wonder if I'd lost my yarn-mojo, until I started spinning some Alpaca and was mightily relieved.

Now, it is possible some of the fibres were damaged during cleaning. I ain't the expert I want to be with raw fleeces and might not have done this rare breed a good service. Most of it is soft and fluffy, just in serious need of a good carding - don't think I've ruined the lot. But I've only got small hand carders which have convinced me that's time to get hold of a drum carder.

I've had my eye on the Louet Junior Carder. Does the same job as any other drum carder, just compact in size. Of course it is, this is me. It's also cheaper than a regular carder but still way out of my pocket. Being that my income has just halved, and my job is at risk, money is always gonna be tight forever more. So the only thing to do is to sell more hand-spun and save up for it. So, y'hear me? Buy my yarn. Now. (please)

In general
I've come down with a cold and am right fed up. Being away for a while, hanging out with travellers and artists did me good but coming home to boring old Plumstead has got me down. I sorely missed Tom, the Cats and my woolly den but this place depresses the hell out of me. We really need to push on and do some structural work on the truck, so we can start to feel like we're getting somewhere. Meantime, I shall just do my usual when a mood like this strikes and keep my head down.

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead