Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lie down, it may get better... the name of my exhibition, opening next Thursday, 2nd of June in my favourite book shop, the Ink Spot, Bush Craft Lane, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, Ireland, and running until the 1st of July.

All are welcome for tea and cakes at 1.30pm on Thursday the 2nd.

The exhibition will feature an installation of the advice hankies I've been making. Click here and here to view them all.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ovine, equine, cervine

I've been doing some spinning recently, with Wicklow Cheviot I got at a visit to The Sheep and Wool Centre in Leenane last year. (Definitely well worth a visit for any sheep enthusiast.)

I washed the fleece, combed it, pulled it off a home-made hackle through a diz and spun it up into a rather lumpy but pleasant aran-weight yarn. They are a hardy mountain breed and I didn't expect their wool to be so nice. It's not next-to-the-skin-type wool, but definitely good for other purposes.
LinkI've given up on counting twists per inch and suchlike. I realised I just like spinning. Not having to measure amounts of wool and doing it scientifically - just doing it for the relaxing and meditative passtime it is.In other news, our neighbour's horses came to stay for a while and have been settling in well.They got the snip this week, which was more eventful than it could have been due to one of them needing about four times the normal amount of anaesthetic.
There is something so weird about seeing such a strong and magnificent creature lying unable to move on the ground. Although, much more terrifying was when he came-to and lurched drunkenly around the field at speed, crashing down on the grass randomly.

It's been great to live with the horses for a while, have them graze the field, hear them whinnying about the place. But witnessing them being castrated was a lesson in itself. It is a brutal process by definition, and dealing with such a huge animal is a tricky business. Having two stallions is not an option - they are too unpredictable. It makes you realise what keeping large animals entails. It's not idyllic!

On a more idyllic note though...the upside of having any trees we plant destroyed by deer is that occasionally you walk into the kitchen and find one grazing outside the window.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Advice Hankies

I've been working on these hankies over the last while. I gathered advice from friends and family - advice they would follow or like to follow themselves - and embroidered it onto handkerchiefs.
They are very difficult to photograph well, but here is the last of them, for the benefit of all advisers! Thanks again!
You can click on the pictures for larger versions.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bluebells and hay ropes

Spring is really here. The bluebells are out and next-to-impossible to truly catch on film. (Or should I say memory card...)

The Roscommon Lamb Festival was a success again this year, with 1,147 knitters converging on the town to break the world record of people knitting in the same place at the same time. There's just a small fraction of them pictured below. There was a great atmosphere, and even mexican waves of knitting.
I also met some lovely gentlemen who taught me how to make hay ropes for sheep.

The rope is pulled from a bundle of hay, by twisting it into a coil. Very like spinning yarn.When long enough, it is folded back on itself and twisted the opposite direction to make a rope.
It is then tied off at the end and the knot is pushed through the opposite end to go around a sheep's neck.There's my one below, not as strong as the ones they made, but passable!They were impressed with my efforts. Its so lovely to learn a dying craft off people who used to use it all the time. One rope was used for tying around a sheep's neck to bring it to the market, and the other longer one for tying the legs together.

The length was tested around your leg - if it fit around your thigh it was long enough for the neck. They also took care to trim off the bits of hay poking out all over before finishing it.

Of course rope is now cheap and plentiful so nobody does this anymore.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The shop is up!

Hooray! All the felting kits have now been listed in my Etsy shop. Feel free to hop on over for a peek and tell your friends all about it.
Its been a busy time getting everything ready and tested. A big thanks goes out to all the fabulous people who have tested my kits. I have learned so much from you all about how to write instructions more clearly, and how to translate whats in my brain onto a piece of paper in a meaningful, accessible way. Its also been amazing to realise that its 16 years ago I learned to make felt, in Glencolumbkille in Donegal. Its obviously a love affair with wool... of which, more anon...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Etsy Shop

Theres been a bit of a lack of blogging round these parts lately...but the good news is I've set up my etsy shop and begun adding listings. More will follow in the days to come but for now a few will have to do!

Lots of craft kits will be going up shortly! Click here to visit!