Thursday, 30 July 2009

Dyeing at the Celtic Village

Last weekend I spent a couple of days at the Celtic Village at St Fagans National History Museum just outside Cardiff. The occasion was the Festival of Archaeology, and I was there demonstrating the basics of natural dyes during the Romano British period, and Gareth was working on reconstructions of a couple of bone flutes in the museum's collections.

As is often the case with such events, I only managed to get one general picture, of a very rainy village, but there are a few more pictures of us and the results of the day's experiments on the museum blog here.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

A hat for a forest setting

Every now and then I get a commission that is nothing less than a joy from start to finish. Recently, I was sent this picture, and asked to interpret it in a pointy hat:This looks very much like a place near here that Gareth and I camp in occasionally, so much so that I can smell the woods just looking at this image, and I knew just how I wanted to make the hat, graduated from deepest mottled green to the lightest sunkissed pale new leaf shades, my only concern was whether I could do justice to the image in my mind.

I started out by laying several layers of the darkest green, its not far off black, really deep, rich, leafmould shades, that would form the inside of the hat and help make the brighter greens contrast well. Overlaying that, I staggered many different shades of green, this picture is of the final layer before I started felting and shaping:
After several hours of felting and a quick swim in the washing machine to harden up the felt, it was ready to block, and around an hour of bullying it into shape gave me this:and I've just done the final steam blocking- this is the result, and I have to say I'm really really pleased with it.The shades look a little acid in this photo- my camera isnt very good on colours sadly, you need to imagine this a bit richer and deeper all over- the splodges in the brim are much more subtle in reality, but hopefully it gives the idea. Just hope the recipent is pleased with it.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Whirligig pattern now available

With thanks to my testknitters, the Whirligig pattern is now available in my Ravelry shop.
Priced at $3, it should be a one skein wonder for most dk yarns coming in at about 45g/120yards

Sunday, 19 July 2009


I tend to make a lot of historical hats, and I really enjoy doing them, the combination of the research to make sure my interpretation is a close as possible to the evidence and working with traditional yarns really appeals to me. However, I do find this comes with a trade-off price, every half a dozen hats or so I justhave to make something loud and frivolous to maintain the balance.

This week I was inspired by a rather lovely skein of DK bfl yarn by Yarn Pirate in the colourway 'Zinnia' and I designed a frilly little child's hat topped with a whirligig to show off the colour transitions well. I'm quite pleased with it, and I think I might write up the pattern for my Ravelry pattern shop.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Goose fluff anyone?

I spent the weekend at a lovely fibre event at Cwmoernant Farm, and got rather more fluff than I bargained for.

Early on saturday a clutch of goslings hatched, four lovely little scraps that seemed to be doing well, until mid afternoon when it became clear that one was a lot smaller than the others and was being trodden on, getting chilled and generally ignored by the adults.

So, we fished it out, checked it over, decided that it seemed ok but was probably the last egg laid and effectively a bit less developed than the others, but its mum didnt want it back. Feeling fairy sure it probably wouldn't make it through the night, we reckoned we could at least make it cosy, so it was bundled up in a box with a towel and a hot water bottle.

After deciding that the barn would be too cold and the dogs and cats would pester it in the house, I took the box into the van with me for the night, reckoning I could check it easily if needs be and put the box on the bed next to me for added insulation.

Well, this tiny wee weak gosling lasted about an hour before deciding the only place it wanted to be was under the duvet with me, and nothing would persuade it otherwise, so I spent the entire night with a day old chick wedged into the crook of my arm with the duvet pulled up over us both Noisy little critter too, hardly stopped peeping all night long.

Anyway, its now called Duvet and by the time I left on sunday it was doing really well, visibly much stronger and alternating between a goose play pen made out of an old tin bath lined with turfs and straw, and regular warming cuddles from the spinners who all found that you can spin or knit quite well with a gosling having a snooze in your cleavage, it really liked prefelt too, that made a lovely nest.

Just goes to show, fluff turns up in the strangest places when you spend the weekend playing with fibre.