Sunday, 10 July 2011

Sunshine and showers

Well, the weather is behaving in the way to which we have become accustomed - rain, then scorching dry days and then more rain and chilly winds. The Japanese indigo doesn't seem to mind, and I've already had one very successful woad vat from a plant that decided to spend the year in the polytunnel! Lovely blues, and I will be doing a woad vat on Wednesday with Claire Crompton, of Give Fleece a Chance fame.

This week I have been trying to make a start on my project for the Fleece First Exhibition to be held at Devon Guild of Craftsmen, in the autumn. I'm using Bluefaced Leicester fleece, from a local farmer, Neil Coles, and will be combing the fibres on English woolcombs in a traditional preparation. It will be woven on my Delta loom but the yarn design and weave technique are still at the mulling over stage - the adrenaline is beginning to kick in, so hopefully this time next week there will be something positive to report.

The photo shows the fibres at the bottom with the combed sliver on the left and the noil (waste from combing) on the right. I have to make dye decisions too - woad is obviously on my mind so maybe that will be the colour to choose.

My a.pyrni caterpillars are now the size of my index finger and they have gone quite pale, so I hope that they will be spinning soon. The S.ricini are still munching merrily away on the privet and the first few hatchlings of the Eri eggs have started appearing - if all the eggs hatch I hope the piviet will be able to cope! I hope there will be some caterpillars to show at FibreFest, particularly if the silk spinning course gets any takers....

Back to the combs - no wonder woolcombers were usually big strong men, my shoulders are aching and I've only done a few grams!

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