Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Honesty and Thyme

Shadows of leaves dancing across the wall in the evening  can mean only one thing - spring is here!
All those excuses that it is too dark to stitch at night...?

I spent the weekend thinking about farm management.
I got quite emotional wandering the fields with the dog, with the sun on my face and nothing but birdsong in my ears.
I can't leave the farm.
I need a plan to stay.
There was a scary moment when my researches into diversification led me to consider keeping a herd of alpacas...
Let's blame that glass of cider in the sunshine, shall we?!

Fortunately, my friendly local farmer came round in the nick of time, with a dozen freshly-laid eggs and an apology for not having ploughed my fields this year.  He had lost motivation when the price of seed and fertiliser went up, but the return on the barley crop went down.  My anxious text message has spurred him into action and he has promised to sow grass.
This is a great relief.  I had visions of 45 acres of weeds.
Now he will be able to feed his sheep this winter and I will not have to worry about the willowherb taking over.

On a smaller scale, I have been tending my herb garden and attempting to mend the fence round the neglected vegetable patch.
Rhubarb and potatoes so far.  But I need to strengthen my defences if I am going to plant anything vaguely appetising to rabbits.
I have alfalfa sprouts in a jar and sage seedlings on the windowsill.
It feels good to be growing things again.

My Always Amsterdam shawl is very nearly finished.

I spun a sample of fibre in a cream and blue mix for the i-cord edging.
It is 40% Wensleydale, 45% Romney Marsh and 15% Tussah Silk (Salvia from the Heathers Collection at Fondant Fibre).

It is not my best ever spin.  Some of the silk slubs were determined not to draft out and I overspun the Wensleydale while I tugged at it.  I was intending to ply it, but after soaking I think it has enough body to knit as a single.

I have recently learned that it is bad for handspun to weight it while it is drying, as it stretches it out and at some point will spring back and distort the finished object.  That makes sense.  I'm looking forward to knitting with it.
My new shawl will be just right to wear every day with anything vaguely denim / navy / black (so most of my wardrobe).

It is soft and warm and light and pretty much perfect.  Huzzah!

I finished a pair of self-patterning socks last night.
I was using leftovers from my pair but had to buy a second ball to make sock 4.
Although it was the same dyelot, it had been wound in the opposite direction, so the stripes are upside down.  Well done, Regia!
But I like it - they are the same but different.

What's next?

I have a dreadful yearning to try brioche knitting.
I am attending a workshop at the start of June to learn how - woo hoo!
I am afraid to admit that I want to make a brioche poncho.
I cannot escape the 1970's, in any aspect of my life.

In the spirit of self-care, I am allowing myself to cast on one new knitting project for each finished object.
And when I finish my Make Space cardigan, I can buy new yarn for another garment.
I only have one sleeve left to knit.
I could knock it out in a week if I tried.
Maybe that's exactly what I need to do.

Better crack on.


  1. Oh no - don't dismiss the alpacas out of hand - think what fab yarn you could spin. You could use natural dyes - (beetroot, onion, rhubarb?) and open a shop! Or start a B&B with in-house spinning and knitting classes?
    I might be getting carried away now - I'm very good at creating business ideas for other people, while I just loll around drinking tea and eating biscuits.

  2. Yes - why not Alpacas? The spinning stuff sounds like a foreign language...one day I will learn I hope. I must find a class to go to....!
    I love this time of year - the light and the feeling of everything growing.

  3. ❤ I love everything about this post.

  4. I think you could spend 2 weeks or so, with Hero, in Hebden Bridge...just to see what everyday life is like there, because I feel H.B. is still some idea for the life after FL that you wrote about quite some time ago and it has stuck with me all this time.... I probably put it to test, to possibly reaffirm some decisions. But then I don't know if you need that... You have YOUR home so maybe I am meddling.
    anyhoo - Spring is good for the soul, isn't it! I always hope it will stay for a bit longer than usual...
    Oh, and plant some tasty things for the rabbits on the outside of the fence :)) (a GOOD strong fence!).
    I could never start a new piece of knitting after finishing...maybe it's the boredom threshold? or pure vanity? :)))

  5. I'm sure the lovely Stephen West would heartily approve of the brioche poncho!

  6. Oh yes: alpacas! I dream of having alpacas and have looked into their care (not too onerous, but I used to have horses so in some ways not dissimilar). Lovely companions too. Lots of creativity happening with you, which makes me very happy :) x

  7. I can understand why you wouldn't want to leave the farm, and I am certain you will soon have a plan to allow you to stay near FL. Thank heavens for knitting , spinning , growing, and all the other creative pursuits that allow us to find peace in difficult times. Best wishes.

  8. Alpaca are a lovely idea, you wouldn't need a whole herd, just one or two to start, and perhaps some designer wool sheep just to keep you in really locally sourced, ethically produced spinning supplies!