Category Archives: Spinning

Once upon a time, many moons ago…

I was learning to knit again. It was on this day in 2008 that I posted my first proper blog post.This is my second blog, the first one was very much a warm up to this one. And having spent some time reading back through my posts I thought I had posted most of it on this one any way, and all not that long ago either! I began blogging in November 2007 with this: 

A place to begin…Last night I finally got the push I needed to start off, I was on a forum and someone said that they would love to follow something like this, there are already loads of popular TV series, books and magazines about self sufficient so that must mean that other people are interested to. So this is my two pence worth to add to. My idea is very simple: produce as much food for myself as is possible with what I’ve got, that said I already know that it isn’t as simple a task as it sounds. I also would like to learn how to live as cheaply as possible and make some money from the things I enjoy doing.

 What I already have/where I’m at: I already keep goats, two of whom are in milk but I’m not milking them at the moment for no really reason other than the fact that I haven’t sorted myself out into doing this. I have quail; I got some for my last years Christmas present (in April, but I said I wanted to wait to get what I really wanted rather than having something else) from these there is one male left and I brought four more the other day, two females and two males and I brought 24 eggs, 12 of two types, for hatching from ebay last night, they should arrive on Tuesday next week.

 I’m a vegetarian, but others in my family eat meat, and I’ve got most of a vegetable garden up and running now but ‘the family’ have just been told that we can use part of a field we keep donkeys on as a vegetable garden as well which is quite a big space. I’m going up there tomorrow to start clearing the ground and covering some of it with manure ready for the summer.

 “The Family”: that is me (eldest daughter) my parents, my two younger sisters, a younger brother and my boyfriend. ‘The Family’ also includes a whole host of dogs, cats, ponies, donkeys, cows, sheep, chickens, ducks, rabbits and a guinea pig. I don’t think I’ve left anything out but I might have.

 So there are a lot of us, some useful others not so useful. I plan to be adding more very soon and to start adding some photo’s when I’ve got to grips with how to do things on here.

I changed blogs as I wanted to have more control of the way that it looked, and in particular a banner that I could add my own photos to.  A train track in the middle of nowhere is nice… But it wasn’t really what I was looking for. 

So what has changed since my first ever blog post? Well, I have almost finished my first own-spun and knitted project… more details coming soon. 

I have grown my own potatoes for the first time, and leeks, and carrots, and some other thing too; I have made butter and cheese from our own cows milk and cream. I have started keeping chickens, and am having another break from keeping quail, mother has the remaining trio that I had. 

‘The Family’ has grown, my baby sister will be eighteen this summer, we all have boy/girlfriends and although we are all still one big family it feels like we are also splitting off into our own little families as well. 

I am a published magazine writer… Twice. 

I have a much better job and am in much better health then I was back then. I have survived no less than two redundancies. I have become much more of an ‘outdoors’ person, even in the pouring rain I am still happy enough (cue a week long down-pour, sorry) and have much more of an idea of who I am and what I want to do. 

All this sounds very fluffy and… Picture prefect, but the thing is the milestones for ‘this kind of life’ are more woolly or yearly events than anything else. Lambing is followed by shearing, sowing time is followed by the growing season, followed by harvest time… Each year starts with hopes and dreams of building on what has been started the year before, which is followed by successes and failures, wet muddy times followed by the smell of grass cutting and fat happy animals sun bathing. It is a circle that keeps going and has no really ending. 

So here I am again, writing a blog post, in the middle of lambing. It has been raining outside and it is probably not all that different to the very first time I put fingers to keyboard for the first post of this blog and that is just fine by me…

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Spinning round (monday)

This weekend has been a bit of a wash out, firstly because of the bad weather on Saturday and then because of my stupid bad health on a clear and sunny Sunday. I have the bug that has been going around the family, it starts with a headache which I have had since about Thursday and for a few of us hasn’t gotten any worse although it’s not a normal headache and just carries on regardless of any painkillers taken or resting. For the ones of us, me included, for whom the bug as gotten worse it has then led on to dizziness and sickness, which is what I spent a lovely sunny Sunday doing and am off work with today.

On Saturday the weather wasn’t terrible, but it was very windy and raining which was enough to put me off trying to get anything done outside, I did venture out a few times but didn’t really get very far before coming back in before deciding if there was anything I could be doing in spite of the weather.

I made a half hearted attempt at being productive inside, which didn’t work and I fell asleep for most of the afternoon in front of a video. In the evening though I got my wheel out and finished spinning, and then plied the bag of wool that I got with my drop-spindle.

Finished wool on the niddy-noddy - 18th November 2009

I loved the colours and the order that they were in in the bag so that was the order in which I spun them.

Red, white, chocolate, orange, aqua, claret and dark green.

When it was first on the niddy-noddy it was a little like holding a prize, so I gave a little speech;

Plied wool - 18th November 2009

“I would like to thank the sheep, who I have unfortunately not yet had the pleasure of meeting, also the people who have helped me learn my craft and the rainbows for the inspirational colours.” It wasn’t exactly what I said but is near enough.

To try and get the colours in the right order I split each rolag into equal-ish lengths and spun these. I managed to spin them quite evenly really, considering it was my first proper attempt but I still ended up with different lengths of colour so it goes nicely from one colour, mixing for a while with another and then into another colour in a nice way. 

My untidy attempt at making it into a skein - 18th November 2009

 My camera is still broken so until Christmas when I (hopefully) will be given a new one I only have my phone camera to take pictures with which isn’t the best or any good indoors.

Spinning

I spent the evening spinning yesterday. I have only really spent one other evening spinning so far so it was a very welcome chance to sit down and practices.

I think I have worked out why my tension keeps going wrong, I am leaving nobbly bits in the wool instead of pick them out so it then doesn’t thread through the flyer as it is should. Now that I know this is should make it much easier to sit down and do odd little bits and pieces