Woolly connections

In recent years I have met many people via social media – some only online, but quite a number I’ve eventually encountered in person. The networks that I have built up have enriched my life, providing me with new friends, sources of produce and teaching me a great deal. And this week, they yielded a creative collaboration. I won’t go into the rather convoluted details of how this link came about, but Thursday found me visiting Glynelwyn, home of Faithmead Felt, Fleece ‘n’ Fibre, to talk wool.IMGP4975Mandy and Derek have goats, pigs, horses and poultry, but it was the sheep that I was there for. Below are some of them – indoors to keep them out of the current poor weather (some breeds are not as hardy as you might think, plus this will help to avoid pre-felted fleeces). As you can see, some of them are particularly partial to dry pasta as a treat!

 

Glynelwyn is home to small numbers of a variety of breeds – Blue-faced Leicester (standard and coloured), Wensleydale, Corriedale, Gotland, Leicester Longwool, Teeswater and Grey-faced Dartmoor – and produces single-breed wool. It is also the home to tiny Fennel – a ‘micro-Corriedale’. She’s not a big wool-producer, but she does write well (a truly amazing sheep) and has just started her own blog!

IMGP4970

Fennel and her pal Dennis

The wool from the big sheep is sold at occasional shows and on-line (they will send wool anywhere in the world!) and Mandy’s studio is heaven for a wool lover:

 

But, as well as the fibre, fleeces and yarn, Mandy wants to sell kits, and that’s where I come in. After a couple of unsuccessful previous attempts to have some patterns written, a mutual friend got us talking to each other and I’m going to help out. We are going to start small – a knitting kit for a hat using one of the yarns that Mandy has in (relative) abundance. On returning home, my first job was to knit some swatches, decide on an appropriate needle size and stitch pattern, and then get working on the hat…

 

It’s really lovely to be doing this with a local producer and I’ll be reporting on progress over the coming weeks.

Moving on creatively

My diploma portfolio and the masterpiece

My diploma portfolio and the masterpiece

Yesterday I finally packaged up my permaculture diploma portfolio and sent it off to be assessed. It’s taken me 2¼ years (much less time than most people take) and I cannot express how pleased I am to have got it out of my hair for the time being. It had started to feel like it was always lurking in the corner of the room – glaring at me and accusing me of neglect. Not true, of course – I put a great deal of work into producing the 10 designs therein but, as with everything, I always feel I could have done more. Anyway, It’s gone now and I can stop fretting. All being well, I will make my presentation about it at the biennial permaculture convergence in London in September – I have a slot booked and a couple of volunteers to sit on my peer review panel (I need a few more, but I’m not going to tempt fate by making too many arrangements too far in advance).

So, what’s next? Well, I have the masterpiece to finish. This is going to provide the focus of my presentation in September and I still have a fair bit of work to do on it. I have three more squares to arrive (one each from Lizze, Katy and Lorraine… oh and there’s still room for two more if anyone has an urge to contribute a quick one) and then I can finally stitch them all together and do the edging. And after that…? Well, no more studying for a while. I want to focus on creative activities and I have a whole list planned:

I've already started work on my first pattern

I’ve already started work on my first pattern

  • Making bling bags to sell/barter
  • Stocking and opening my etsy shop (finally)
  • Making my Bavarian crochet afghan
  • Crocheting covers for the big cushions on our sofa (Sam has been eating the zips off the existing ones)
  • Making my felt/leather bag that I bartered the materials for
  • Writing up some of my crochet patterns (yes, Narf, I’ve started the one for that square you like so much)
  • Finishing the hoodie I started when the weather was so much colder
  • Working on a tapestry that Has been sitting around untouched for a couple of years
  • Contributing to the community craft projects at Denmark Farm (more on this soon, including details of how you can join in)

Along with the gardening, blogging and cooking, that should keep me busy at home! Oh, and of course I’d better do some paid work too… lots of editing as always and some teaching (next course is an introduction to permaculture at Karuna). Finally, I am hoping to have a bit more time for visiting friends near and far. You never know, I might turn up on your doorstep one of these days!

 

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