Mine, with a few others from Standen – plus my bowl of quinces. All over now, except the quinces which have morphed into jelly.
Bit late, but it seemed churlish to ignore it altogether! I do feel nostalgic for the festive greenery, despite still finding trails of ivy under the sofas. On the whole, though, I’m glad to be emerging from what is always an unreal few weeks.
But January? The blogs I read (and do really enjoy) are urging me to ‘welcome winter’ and ‘go with the seasons” etc etc. All very good advice – what is the alternative after all? So I am happy to reflect on winter walks, icy bracken, subdued colours of nature, roaring fires, hearty food, cosy reading (in fact, everything ‘cosy’) – but this is definitely an idealised view. The reality out there, from this urban window, is mild, damp, grey and full of scuttling, rather miserable-looking people. Luckily, I can move to another window which will give me twinkling lights and sea views!
Maybe the best thing about January for me is the holiday I take from my Etsy work. Apart from some custom dyeing I don’t usually do much for the shop. Just a little fancy spinning for myself, and stuff for friends and family. I’m currently crocheting a blanket for daughter number 4 (I’m pretty sure she never reads this!) and a few other projects mixed up below!
Over this weekend I have had to offer two sorts of sock yarn. (I think people must be starting to knit socks for Christmas, though it could be for summer shawls instead!) My first instinct is always to grab the dye pots and have some fun experimenting – but I peeped into my stocks and decided to get realistic. I fished out the first 20 skeins (probably about a third of the sock yarn ready to go) and spread it around.
The first choice was not too tricky – ‘luxury, soft and feminine’. So I went for some silk and alpaca in more pastel colours, and will probably end up with this top one, which is more subtle than it looks, especially when knitted up. It was a very successful batch, though I say it myself.
But choice number two is harder. It is for ‘something different’. Hmm. I assume that EVERYONE who orders Indie hand dyed yarn is looking for ‘something different’ – otherwise there are dozens of perfectly good commercial yarns out there….
Does it mean in-your-face, saturated colours, like these?
Or just unusual combinations – maybe these?
I’m really not sure. Any ideas?
The spinning bit! My favourite. Carding can be tedious, fighting the drum carder to make the art batts is usually interesting, dyeing the silk threads is always exciting – but nothing beats the actual spinning process on the wheel. Once you have decided on the effect you want, and how you are going to get there, you can sink into a sort of rhythmic trance, watching the magic spool out from under your fingers…
Then you have to decide whether to use it, stash it (!) – or toss it into the Etsy shop and hope for the best!
Because it doesn’t sell!
It seems that few people (apart from me) are impressed by yellow socks…. or cowls, or mittens. But that doesn’t stop me gazing at my daffodils every Spring and thinking why not…?
This yarn above was achieved by a combination of dip dyeing and hand painting .
This plum and lime one has more intense colour sections and was done by injecting the dye in several stages.
The yarn below (a rather subtle colourway called crocus – note the sneaky touch of yellow…) was almost entirely painted by hand, using a small brush.
If you are curious, take a peek at my Etsy shop (button top right) to see some other techniques.
PS. If yellow is the least popular colour, which set of shades do you think regularly flies off the shelf – and not just off Etsy? Please comment with your guess.
Answer next time!
Perfectly formed and stunningly simple, despite the snow and high winds.
My batts, however, are neither of those things – nothing to show at the moment as I haven’t quite dug my way through to the drum carder.
But I have been dyeing – five different techniques over the weekend. Several batches currently drying – pictures to follow!
Some recent geometrically inspired pieces, mixed with angles from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna – mostly taken around the famous tea room.
The building is as splendid as the exhibits – late 19th century Viennese marble, stucco, gold leaf, over-the-top painted surfaces including the Klimpt decorations around the main staircase.
We spent a memorable week in Vienna just after Christmas. So much to see – three art galleries/ Hapsburg palaces meant we walked over 11 miles one day. Maybe the highlight was managing to get tickets for a performance of Mozart’s Requiem in the Karlskirche. But just wandering around was fun too – and you have to keep scuttling out of the way of these!