Friday, 22 April 2011


Well, it's a couple of hours later than my post and I now have a picture or two, though it is another swarm! We are running out of space, and desperate bee-keepers all around us are in the same predicament. It will be absolutely wonderful if we can keep all these casts that are developing - it will increase the bee population dramatically. At this exact moment, at least three bee-keepers I know are frantically trying to rearrange their hives, build more supers and generally keep up with this population explosion, the like of which, we can't remember!

Just a Quickie!

Well, it's been some time since I posted and a lot has happened. Some good, some not so good but I am gradually getting back into the swing of things.

Our trip to the Netherlands was great and we produced some fabulous yarns in the Whacky Fibres workshop in The Hague. There are lots of pix and information on the Creative Spinning blog,, should you wish to have a peep. In Zeeland, Alison and I had the opportunity to do some design work with Helen Melvin's landscape felters and we all thoroughly enjoyed both the process and the outcomes. As usual, it was lovely to meet old friends and make new ones, and I was particularly delighted to see that two of my students from last year had really made use of those workshops to create some wonderful items - their development was also evident in the yarns the created this year. I am not going to name names - look at the blog and see if you can tell who they are!

This morning the first two silkmoths of the year, a. pernyi, have appeared, a male and a female. So I am hoping for a positive outcome, although they are not yet making any great effort to mate! They are very close though, so fingers crossed. Might have some baby caterpillars when I return from France next Sunday - there is someone at home to do the necessary feeding should they get on with it.

France - ISEND, the International Symposium and Exhibition of Natural Dyeing. This is something I have been looking forward to for about six months. If you want to see why, go to The only downside is that in order to catch the plane to La Rochelle, we need to get up at 4 am on Sunday morning - still, we should miss any bank holiday traffic!

I was hoping to add a photo of a swarm of bees in our garden - my husband is a beekeeper, so insects are a bit of an obssession in our household. Whilst writing about ISEND, I saw him put on his hat and veil and he said one of the hives had swarmed and were in the medlar tree - this is the third time this week, despite him checking twice a day for any emerging queens. By the time I got the camera - on my desk next to the computer - and out into the garden, about 2 mins, literally, they had gone. There are a few stragglers circling the tree but where the bulk have disappeared to who knows where. I daresay there'll be a phone call from a neighbour any minute now! It is very, very hot for April and we are hoping that the weather doesn't repeat last year's performance when the bees were active very early in the season but then came the rain, the flowers were either knocked down by the heavy showers or never came to anything and the poor old bees suffered. The poor things are under enough pressure from disease, climate change and lack of awareness of how crucial they are to the survival of human life on this planet - they deserve to have a great year. All our hives are in fine condition at the moment, hence the populations swarming to start new colonies and some we have on a nearby farm are producing a wonderful honey flow already.

I expect this is the last you'll hear from me until after ISEND.

Have a fantastic Easter - be sure I will!