Well, that’s it for another year. Woolfest has been and gone. I had a great time and I’m sure so did everyone else who went there.

For those who don’t know – Woolfest is an annual event held just outside Cockermouth (don’t laugh!) in Cumbria. I think this is the eleventh year it has been run, but don’t quote me on that. It is held in a giant auction mart and there are so many stalls there, selling all sorts of things, from clothes, to animals, to fibre, to wheels, to tools, to anything woolly you can think of.

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I really enjoy seeing the animals here. I now desperately want an angora rabbit, especially an orangy, beige one.

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The sheep are a definte bonus too! Here are some Herdwicks, some sheared, some not. (First time I haven’t bought a Herdwick fleece this year, but I have one in the shed ready to be washed).

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I think this gorgeous guy is an Exmoor Horn ram. He had a sign on the pen saying ‘I am a lovely boy, but sometimes I can get grumpy, so please don’t put your  hands in the pen!’

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My favourite – North Ronaldsay. It’s a fairly coarse fleece but I like it for the history and unusual eating habits of the sheep. They graze on the beaches and eat seaweed. We used to have some when I was little so they make me feel all nostalgic when I use the fleece.

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Some photos of inside –

This stall had a lot of X fleeces, including Merino X Shetlands. Quite expensive, so I didn’t buy anything from this stall. It was here when I was looking through a pile of fleece packs that I helped a German lady with understanding the prices here. It was the highlight of my day helping her, in GERMAN. (I love the German language and would LOVE to chat to people in German, but no-one around here speaks it!)

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Look at the size of this drum carder!

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I was fascinated by this huge loom.

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Joe’s Toes – A stall specialising in making slippers out of felt. You could buy the seperate pieces to sew together.

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Wool!

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It doesn’t look very busy here, but at some points it was very crowded.

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I love the little fat sheep at the bottom of this picture.

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So, what did I get?

I think I was maybe a bit more restrained than last year… no… no, I wasn’t. I just spent less at Wingham Wools as I have a massive box filled to the brim full of fibre! I spent a lot less on raw fleece but still seemed to come back with as many huge sacks.

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I bought (what I can remember, the fleeces are now in the shed) –

  • North Ronaldsay grey/brown fleece
  • Black badger fleece
  • Shetland X Hebridean fleece
  • Hebridean fleece
  • Soay fleece – (£1!!!!)
  • Jacobs fleece

I think there was another but I can’t recall what it is. I also got loads of bits which you can just about see in the picture.

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I’ll explain these soon when I finish this post.

xXx Love Kais xXx

 

Hello again,

Woolfest is only a day away, I am so excited! Right now it is Wednesday and it is held on the Friday and Saturday. I don’t think I need to tell people who have read this blog before about how excited I get about going to this once-in-a-year-opportunity. My Mum and Dad are coming too, my Mum usually does, but I’ve badgered my Dad into going too, so I’m happy, happy, happy! I don’t get to visit other wool shows (bar the ICHF show in Glasgow, but that is more sewing – something else I adore) so Woolfest is pretty much my once a year buying opportunity for fleece and other related products. I haven’t bought a fleece online in a few years bar an alpaca seconds I got last year. I have been spinning some of it though so at least it is being used. Being seconds it takes a lot of time to prep. It took a while to sort out the decent stuff, then wash it, then sort out the decent stuff once again.

I finally got round to using up my North Ronaldsay wool that I spun up last year. I love this but it infuriated me no end that I had spun it up entirely and not actually done anything with it. My Dad suggested a shawl might be a good idea and I agreed with him. It was too rough and scratchy to go against the skin so a good shawl for poor weather or cold would be great over the shoulders. I decided using the pattern ‘Margarets’ Prayer Shawl’ on Ravelry as a start-off, using a 6mm hook. Instead of changing the last two rows at the end, I simply repeated the same row over and over, using a 3dc stitch per gap.

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As you can see, the shawl is pretty tiny. I am going to see if I can buy a nice brown North Ronaldsay fleece to continue it. A nice, two tone shawl in the same fleece breed. I don’t think it will need much blocking as the wool is holding its shape really nicely. But I do need to wash it as the wool is still slightly greasy and a bit itchy.

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What a lovely sight!

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I had a bit of a spinning binge and managed to spin up quite a few of the batts I had previously prepared. Using the unknown brown fleece I knitted my Dad a thick, warm hat for Winter. I had changed the pattern slightly because I did not like the way the ribbing looked when turned up for the headband. I ribbed as normal, and then when it came to the main part of the hat in st-st, I simply knitted the other way, making the ribbing look ‘right’ when it was turned back up. (Sorry if that makes absolutely no sense at all!).

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I also spun up some of the black shearling Hebridean fleece. Why have I not done this before?! It wasn’t very nice to prep, but oh my, what a joy to spin! I got three small skeins of wool and the colour is lustrous. I think the wool would look very nice in a fair-isle type pattern but nothing has caught my eye yet. The Gotland fleece was quite nice to spin too and the different colours were interesting when spun up. I plan on using some of this fleece to make some pin loom squares. I might get some Gotland when I go to Woolfest. (Did I mention I was going to Woolfest?!)

Yes, I quite fancy making another pin loom blanket, this time using natural coloured fleeces, all prepared from raw fleece by me. This will probably be an ongoing project throughout the year, rather than something I sit and work on. I really like the idea of another pin loom blanket. I wonder if I can ask Dad to help me make some more pin loom squares, but a bit bigger. My one is 8”. Maybe a 12” one might be nice.

My brother gave me some interesting sack fleece fabric yesterday when I visited him. (Happy Birthday, Franz! Eldest little brother is 25 now!). I had been thinking for a couple of days how nice it might be to try rug-making. (I can hear my family groaning now – ANOTHER hobby?!) I know a vintage stall at Woolfest sells rug making tools so I’ll have a look and see how much they are. Maybe a nice rug for in front of the TV – as long as A’s cats don’t destroy it.

My list for Woolfest –

North Ronaldsay fleece x 2, hopefully a brown one.

A small, white fleece.

A few interesting coloured fleeces, hopefully a fairly short staple.

Some ‘grab bags’ of fleece from the breeders stalls, maybe some more Hebridean and I would like to try Valais Blacknose. I’ve heard it is really coarse though.

A drop spindle from Spin City. Her spindles are beautiful.

A rug tool or two.

Some wool tops from Wingham Wools.

Silk Hankies from Wingham Wools. (IF they have any! Haven’t had them for a couple of years now).

Cheap magazines.

Alpaca from Wingham Wools.

LOTS of photos! (My Mum is the photographer of the family, she will enjoy doing this!)

Oh, I also designed a tote bag to take to Woolfest. I’m really proud of it. What do you think of it? Finally got around to using those dyed locks!

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Sewing the locks onto the penciled drawing.

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Backstitching the face of the sheep. I really love the nose. It wasn’t meant to be there, it was a slip of the needle, but it really works!

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Have a great day everyone!

xXx Love Kais xXx

Hello everyone!

These past few weeks have been completely fleece and fibre full!  I’ve been literally counting down the days to the most amazing wool festival on Earth – Woolfest. I’ll be creating a blog post on it later. I did buy a few fleeces though, which you will see further down the post.

It’s also been the end of school for this year, until after summer of course. The last week has been hectic, getting decorations and displays down, sorting out school work and sending it home. The kids have had fun though and so have I. I look forward to my new class but I’ll miss this class a lot too. I took my spinning wheel in for the last day and they LOVED it. Even the boys couldn’t wait to have a go and were impatiently waiting in line to try using the treadle. Hopefully they might want to try it when they are older too!

Ok, so lets have a look at the fleecy photos then!

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This first photo is actually a Zwartbles fleece that was given to me by some very kind Zwartbles farmers. I cannot believe how HUGE the fleece is. The tub at the back is full of good stuff taken from it already, as well as all the fleece lying on the table! I’m using my Dad’s shed to sort it out – it’s a lot better skirting it on the table as my back aches horribly when it is lying on the floor. You can just see my Dad in the left hand side of the picture. I think he enjoys skirting and sorting the fleece just as much as me! You can watch the chickens from the window on the right.

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Photo in action!

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An entire fleece in the tub – it’s pretty squished in there.

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After that, I found some pillow cases and decided to name each fleece rather than just giving it a number. They all have girls names, except the male fleece, which is now named Rupert. Those pillow cases take an awful lot of fleece! However, Ruperts fleece took two cases, it was that big!

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Here are some carded batts, some from the Zwartbles (front) and the others from a Ryeland fleece I’ve had hanging around for a while now. I amaze myself how much fleece I have crammed in this house – I surprise myself sometimes! These have been through the carder only once, so definitely need going through again.

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Grr, I’m annoyed with myself that I cannot remember the name of this fleece. But it is MASSIVE. I bought this one to card and dye.

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This teeny one is a North Ronaldsay. I had been looking at these fleeces at Woolfest but they all seemed pretty horrible, dirty and greasy. Mum found this one and we checked it out on the fleece table. It was a lot better than others and was cheap, so I bought it. When I checked it out later in the shed it was actually pretty damn good! Hardly any vm, or too much grease or in need of much, if any skirting. I was seriously impressed. Thanks Mum! I look forward to washing and spinning this. I won’t be dyeing it, the colours are gorgeous enough as they are.

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This is a Shetland X (I think!) If not, it is a Zwartbles. Either way, the Shetland X was beautiful and very little vm or anything. It was very nice and soft. I bought several Shetland fleeces, mostly white.

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This little clump of fleece is Leicester Longwool/Wensleydale – I think! (Why didn’t I write the name of the stall down?! Ooh, maybe I can check the Woolfest map, I vaguely remember where it was). It isn’t very good at the bottom, but I got a whole bag of curls from this which I plan on dyeing later. The bit that is felted at the bottom – I plan on washing this, dyeing it in lots of pretty colours and making a cushion with a sheep on it. The sheep will have these dyed curls for its fleece.

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And this little lot is 200g of Hebridean fleece. Now, me and Hebridean fleece do not normally get on. I am hoping (and hoping!) that I can wash and card this successfully and actually spin it. I find it greasy and horrible normally so I hope it works. I actually found a Hebridean fleece in the shed the other day and put some into soak. I still need to move it from the bathroom . . . Fingers crossed it works!

I have lots and lots more to say, but I won’t put it all in one blog post. Hope you enjoyed looked at the fleecy photos – I’m looking forward to working with it properly.

Have a great day everyone. 🙂

xXx Love Kais xXx

Hello everyone,

It’s the night before I have to finish the weekend and go back to work. I can hardly believe I have been at this job for about five months now. I love every minute of it, even though it is a lot of hard work. I’ve had a good weekend and feel like I have achieved a few things crafty wise. The photos that I will show you have been from the entire month of May. I haven’t had a great deal of crafty time, but I’m hoping to get more done on the weekends than I have previously.

I’ve been working on a crochet baby blanket. This one is SO beautiful I had to buy the pattern straight away. The words spell out ‘Your first breath took ours away.’ How sweet is that?! I am using Drops I love 5. It is 80p a ball, so I filled up the online basket to get enough to make this blanket.

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I’m using white cotton from a local yarn shop. It’s dishcloth cotton, but it is so nice to use.

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I also finally, FINALLY used my weaving loom! I was going to cut everything off, but then I saw it had loads of thread left to weave on. I grabbed some of my white cotton in the thought  of making some dish towels, but when the time came to cut it off and cut it into separate bits, I couldn’t do it, so now it is a nice, white cotton scarf.

I haven’t worked up the courage to thread it all back up yet…

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A couple of newborn crochet hats. These crochet up REALLY quickly. I did the blue one first, then decided to reverse the colours. I like the blue one better.

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I started making a sock the other day. I didn’t use a pattern or anything, just sort of made it up as I went along. I think the sole is too long and wide. Not too sure where to go with this. I will probably frog it.

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Look at this beautiful fleece! I visited a craft fair last weekend, but it was disappointing because it was so small. However, I got chatting to one woman there and she informed me that just up the road they had some sheep shearing demonstrations and spinning. Me and Mum went there straight away and we saw some gorgeous Zwartble sheep. I couldn’t believe how big they are! The owners were very nice and gave me one of their fleeces. It is HUGE. I took some photos of it this morning after unravelling it, but they are on the other camera. I have washed some (JUST remembered I have left it outside… I do hope it doesn’t rain!) and am just waiting for it to dry. It seemed to wash really well and was pretty clean. I look forward to carding it and spinning it.

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I thought I would get the trusty drum carder up and used for a bit. It has sat on my shelf for a good few months now, which is a shame. I raided my wool tops box and found some bits and pieces. The red one is a mixture of kool-aid dyed Poll Dorset sheep fleece (prepared from raw fleece) with some sparkly trilobal nylon carded in too. The blue one is a mixture of German sheep fleece wool tops, with some blue bamboo fibre. Also, with some white sparkly trilobal nylon in too. Both have been spun up.

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A very poor photo, but it is the two on the left. The two on the right are the darkest of the following photo –

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It is showing a blend of colours from white all the way to blue. Very soft and smooth. It has been lovely to spin too. I simply spun the whole batt into a single, then Andean plyed it together.

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It is a mixture of white German sheep wool tops, blue merino tops and white sparkly trilobal nylon. I am unsure yet of what to make with it, but I shall keep thinking!

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I found out my old vintage carders this afternoon after I had a sudden craving to make some rolags! I have some alpaca fibre that needs spinning but it was quite difficult just spinning it straight from the fibre. I cleaned these up the best I could and then started on the rolags.

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They do look funny in the box! I think I did fourteen altogether. I couldn’t believe how much easier it was to spin alpaca this way! However, it didn’t take too long to spin them all up. I’ve been looking at blending boards lately… they look fun!

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And here is the resulting yarn! Very soft, but my hands were filthy afterwards! I’ve left it drying upstairs in the bathroom.

So, that’s been my crafty month so far! Before I go, here are some lovely pet photos of the month. I LOVE this one, it looks like me and Freddy are just in the middle of nowhere – the grass and colour is so beautiful.

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Little man hiding in the field!

And a cute one of Aya, just before I left A’s house yesterday.

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Look at that face!

Anyway, it’s getting late and I must go to bed. I hope you all have a lovely evening.

xXx Love Kais xXx

Hello everyone,

I have another blog post to complete later but thought I would squeeze another one in before I do my last one of the year.  Just a few photos to show the last month or two.

Here I was working on a simple crochet mitten. I took some of the shaping from a simple pattern but instead of crocheting in rounds I worked in a spiral. I found that was better because it didn’t leave a line up the back of the mitten. I have finished it now and put a little bit of blue ribbon round the wrist.

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Here are the first pair of mittens I crocheted. Aren’t they cute?!

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I am very proud of this next picture. This is another crocheted top with a little hat to match. There was only a few metres of yarn left at the end so I was fortunate to get it all finished. I will have to find the pattern out later. I learnt some new stitches (fbhp or something like that, haha) so my crochet skills are slowly improving.

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Ok, time for some pet pictures! Here is sweet Molly sitting on my spinning wheel. She LOVES sitting on it. Excuse the mess, there are an awful lot of clothes not put away!  I also have to put sheets around the table so that she and Evie do not get under the table and stay there. Gorgeous girls 😀

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My beautiful girls 🙂 Grace nearest me, Donna at front, Rose at left back and Martha. All doing well and happy 🙂

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I was annoyed the other day that my train had been cancelled due to flooding. I know that sometimes they seem to exaggerate these things so I was angry at the thought of it being hardly a problem. Imagine my surprise opening the paper to find this! This is my exact train I wanted to get, haha. Ok, it’s not funny but I won’t complain about flooding again! (Everyone was fine, don’t worry). I had to get the slightly quicker, but more round about way train.

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There has been an awful lot of flooding round here. This is the river in front of Andrews house (Ayr river). It was very high, a lot more than usual. Sometimes the river is so low you can see the floor.

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This is a long overdue photo of the latest reborn doll I have done. The pictures don’t give it justice and make it look very, very pale with very little paint, grrr. This is the Tilly sculpt, bought from Lillian Trigg of Rochester. Beautiful kit. I didn’t see any pictures of what it could look like when painted so this was complete guesswork.  This one is different too as it has eyes. What a hassle trying to get the eyes in! You have to slit the back of the eye sockets and push them in that way. It took me ages trying to go through the front which resulted in me tearing tiny, tiny marks at the corners of her right eye. Oh well, she isn’t for sale anyway. I thought she looked like a boy when I finished, but the more I look at her it’s a her. She is a full limbed sculpt.

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I love the soles of the feet.

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You can just see the rosey cheeks in the picture above.

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She is fully weighted to have the weight of a baby. She is filled with ground glass and stuffed with polyester stuffing to make a nice squidgey body.

In the photo below you can see the difference between the Tilly painted doll (right) and the Archie unpainted doll (left). The Archie sculpt is very pale in comparison and Tilly seems to have much more skin tone, and shiny lips!

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I made a terrible error when I first started Tilly though. 😦 I had got most of her painted up and she looked great, no shiny skin or anything. Then I tried putting the eyes in and realised to my horror that the paint was rubbing off! I had forgotten to put thinner/sealer in any of the paint mix. This is a must as it seals the paint to the vinyl and prevents it from ever coming off. So yeah, I was very, very disappointed as the skin tone looked a lot better than it did in the photos you can see on here. Oh well, learning curves! I won’t be forgetting the thinner again, haha.

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This is my little table I was using to get everything painted up. You can see I am painting in daylight because it shows the true colours. But because of the daylight fading away at 3pmish it was hard to stop. My wonderful parents bought me a daylight lamp, yay! I’m using it right now and it is amazing. It means I can do my crafts until stupid o clock in the morning and won’t be straining my eyes. The lights I have in my room seem very orange in comparison to the daylight lamp. I love it! But what shall my next  project be? Hmm…

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Here are a couple of photos of the doll wearing the recent crocheted items.

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I crocheted the little hat the other night in bed as a ‘something to do with my hands’ whilst watching telly. Going to make another one tonight perhaps? I have also crocheted a little diaper cover which matches the hat.

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One thing I do need to work on is starting my crochet much, MUCH more loosely. It’s far too tight and pulls the stitches in, distorting it.

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Right, I’m off to get photos and things ready for my final post of the year. Sobering thought, huh? I’ve now been doing this blog for two whole years. Never, ever thought it would get this far. But I love it, and I hope that everyone who reads it has enjoyed it too.

xXx Love Kais xXx

Hello again! 

It’s been such a long time since I posted. Just want to apologise to those who have commented on my posts, I’m very sorry for not replying, it’s very unlike me. Also, for those whos blogs I regularly comment on too, I apologise, I’m not ignoring anyone, I just haven’t been on here for a while. It’s been a hectic month for me, and the past few weeks have been quite stressful. I hope to resume normal service soon! 

Well, first things first. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been asked to take my spinning with me to various places 😀 One is to my Mums work, to show them how spinning works, as part of an ‘alternative art’ session. The guys and girls there absolutely loved it and everyone tried their best. I started off with some examples of what I had for them to try, and started off people using the spinning wheel. I used my Bliss. Instead of allowing them to try with sheep fleece to spin, I simply threaded it with some red acrylic yarn, so they could understand the feeling of spinning, without the hassle of concentrating on holding it properly. Some were very good and got hold of the motion of the wheel straight away. Others had me pushing the wheel for them whilst they felt the treadle go up and down. 

My Mum assisted them with the drum carder whilst I supported the spinning wheel. Some of the clients loved the carder and were fascinated by blending the merino colours together. 

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I spun up one batt of wool that one of them had blended. 

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All in all it was an enjoyable afternoon. I was due to go to a school the next day, and being the lazy person I am, I left the spinning equipment in the car overnight. I’m sooo glad I did! I asked the Head of this school if I were allowed to give a lesson on spinning and let them have a go, and she said yes! 

The kids LOVED it. They all got their iPads out (the school gives all the pupils iPads) and were filming each other spinning, like awesome reporters. I was very impressed. 

To start off with, I put all the different kinds of fibres I had in the middle of the table and had the children sit/stand around it. (Only 12 in the class that day). We discussed the various types of fibres and how each is prepared. They looked at plastic, silk cocoons and hankies, llama, alpaca and wool.

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Later on, we all made felted soaps. 

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I love the one in the top right hand corner, the white one with purple felted bits on top. I was very impressed with that. They all seemed to have great fun and all participated very eagerly. 

What else has been going on? Oh, I came back the other night from a party, and Mum gave me three huge bags of wool that someone had given her from work. I LOVE rummaging in wool bags, you never know what you might find! 

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Freddy very kindly helped me bring it all upstairs. His contribution is the wool on the top of the bags 😀 There was a massive amount. Most of it was acrylic, old acrylic, with some wool blends, all in different thicknesses. Plenty of new balls there, which is awesome. Two huge new balls of Aran wool. There was also loads of mohair too; I LOVE the bright pinks. 

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Acrylics in top left, (going to be awesome just right for my blanket and some the same kind as I buy anyway), chunky yarns at top right, Aran at bottom left, and mohair at bottom right. 

Oooh, and something else amazing at the bottom of the last bag…? 

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A whole set of bamboo needles! I haven’t used straight bamboo needles before, preferring to use metal ones. I shall have a go with bamboo ones next time I think. (I use bamboo ones for knitting in the round though… weird!) 

I also got my next order from Wingham Wools. 100g of silk hankies (YAY! Can’t wait to dye these. Just need to buy some more Kool-Aid now), 100g of mushroom alpaca tops, 100g of aubergine alpaca tops, 100g of jute tops, 100g of trilobal nylon sparkly stuff, and a small book on the history of spinning. Thought it might be useful next time I teach spinning and stuff. 

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Oh, went to the same school again that I taught spinning at, and this time we tried some lollypop stick weaving. They loved it! Some got the hang of it straight away, others needed a little more help. But they all made an average of three sets each. Don’t you think this is wonderful? I plan on trying to make it into a big hanging when I have some more time. 

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I think I may do this with one of my own classes if we have time. 

Here are some photos which made me smile this past couple of weeks.. . 

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And of course, my sweetheart. 

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That’s all for now. I hope to come back with some more knitting/crochet projects later on, kinda lost my mojo at the moment 😦 Sucks when that happens. I kinda feel like spinning, but at the moment that would mean getting out of bed which I’m not prepared to do right now, haha. 

Have a great evening everyone. 

xXx Love Kais xXx