Yep, it's a crafty post. The weather has been pretty wet and/or windy this week so I've been indoors and visiting folk.
Tuesday was lovely, I forgot that! I spent the afternoon with LoveFibre learning to hand felt.
First you lay down at least three layers of wool tops (merino in this case), making sure the layers alternate direction.
Then you get it pretty wet, not dripping, but not just mildly damp. Cover with something to prevent making a big lump, roll and...
Roll. At least 100 times, then turn, roll, turn, roll, repeat.
Once it's fairly stuck to itself you get to be violent! You can either dunk it alternately in very warm and cold water to "shock" it into felting, or throw it at a surface (make sure to squeeze water out first!); or rub vigorously. Everything you're NOT meant to do when hand washing a woollen garment, you can do to felt. If you're used to avoiding felting it does feel a bit wrong to do all these things, but it does give a nice result:
See how the fibres have gone from straight to kinky?
I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my sea-felt. Currently it's draping artfully in various places in the living room as I move it wondering what to do.
As the wind was fairly mild on Tuesday I did a serious re-pot. My yukka had sprouted an offshoot, it was also far too big for its pot and the dragon tree was far too big for its pot. The living room is turning into a jungle, oops. This is the newly repotted yukka with its new stakes (it's gone a bit top-heavy); my jade tree (about 6 years younger than me) and the baby yukka:
The newly repotted dragon tree; it had completely filled its previous pot with roots so I had to be a bit vicious to the tangle to encourage it to spread into the new pot.
Getting outdoor sized plant pots on Tiree is an issue it seems. I have yet to find somewhere online to order them from and nowhere on the island seems to stock these sizes. So, what did I do? I made an online order with B&Q, got my Dad to collect it and then my parents brought the pots up when they came to visit. So that's the plants sorted for another year, then I hope I'll have somewhere to put them, because the next size pots won't be easily taken by the tables.
Wednesday afternoon saw the return of the wet and wind. Chickens were not amused:
After an amusing afternoon with the craft group and reattaching wires to an organ pedal I spent the evening winding off some 4-ply from a cone into 7 connected skeins. I'd been told this is a way to get long sections of colour that flow into each other. Keeping them separate was a case of being careful and tying each one off in four places. I also skeined some DK wool for dyeing. LoveFibre has kindly lent me some acid dyes that I didn't have so I got to play with colours that evening. Each mini skein was placed in a bag with its dye and all seven went in one steamer basket. The DK skeins were also done.
I set the steamer to 30 minutes (the seven were in the middle basket, so I had to add 10 minutes to ensure those in the top basket got warm enough) and went to bed. You have to let the wool go completely cold before rinsing or you end up with colourful lengths of half-felted wool.
The seven skeins were inspired by the ocean, from the depths to the wavetops:
The first skein is meant to be darker than the second (from left to right) but it came out like that instead. Still works though.
I wasn't sure on some of my colours and their order, so this DK skein got to be a sampler:
This one got all the leftovers chucked in the bag with it:
This one got the teal leftovers:
This got the dark blue:
This one got the "golden yellow" dye I'd made up to mix. I think the vinegar turned it orange. Will try citric acid with it next time.
Thursday had a dry morning so I hung the DK skeins on the line to dry in the wind. I wasn't risking the 7-skein yarn in the wind, so that had to dry indoors. The study had a slight whiff of vinegar by the end of the day.
Thursday also saw quite the sight. A friend described it as "slightly sinister". You know how we're on an island; surrounded by ocean; only accessible by plane or ferry? Five lorries in convoy causes quite the shock:
One of the landing strips had been prepared towards the end of last year for resurfacing. This was the new surface arriving. Goodness knows how far in advance they had to book the spaces on the ferry for this! That's probably half the Clansman's capacity.
Well, that's about it for this week. The coming week is looking iffy; wet start with the hope of brightening towards the end. Here's hoping!