Thursday, 20 September 2007

Fibrefest - a review

Fibrefest was held in conjuction with Bridwell Country Fair on 1st and 2nd September, 2007; billed by the organisers as "A fantastic celebration of fleece, fibre & fabric in the beautiful Blackdown Hills". Well, it certainly lived up to its name. I went along with my family and a friend on the Saturday - we were like children in a sweetie shop! Where to start? We walked all the way round first, trying not to buy anything (I failed on this one) until we'd seen it all, but all good intentions mostly went to the wall! There was a huge range of fibre on offer, and soemthing for everyone. Stalls were piled high with all sorts of crafting goodies for all sorts of crafts in addition to knitting and spinning. There was a lot of felt in evidence - wonderful, colourful creations in the form of hats, tea cosies, bags and other desirable objects. Another heavily featured item was alpaca fleece and yarn - lots and lots of it in the most gorgeous colourways imaginable.........................sigh....................There was a lot of good fleece and yarn for sale from traditional breeds, lovely to see them getting the support and exposure they deserve and badly need to keep them going - wonderful. On the other side of the fibre spectrum, there were a lot of very fashionable yarns on offer - keeping up with the current interest and trend in knitting from younger folks coming up - all sorts on offer here: hemp yarns, nettle yarns from Nepal, yarns in brilliant zingy colours made from banana fibres, yarns made from recycled sari fabric. Fantastic colours, inspiration at every turn! All of the stalls were busy, with interested and enthusiastic customers, and all teh stallholders took time to actually talk to us, which is much appreciated when you are as much of a fibre fan as me. There was a lot of equipment on offer too - all sorts of gadgets, some very beautiful knitting needles, spinning wheels and looms. for those who prefer to buy the finished article, the standard of the finished goods on sale was exceptional - there wasn't one stall, I felt, that didn;t live up to expectations.

Out of that lot, though, I did have my favourites; for fleece, it was the rare breed stall from Woodpark Wool in Grivan, run by a lovely lady called Susan Russell. She had beautiful Hebridean wool for sale, and some rare fleece for spinning, including Boreray and Ronaldsey (yes, I bought some.................................). Definitely be shopping there again. Another one which took my fancy was Llynfi Textile Co, who have just gained organic accreditation from the Soil Association for their wools; dyed with natural dyes, I bought some in green and yellow which ahs already been knitted into socks for a Christmas present. The colours were gorgeous, and beautifully displayed on a colour wheel. Again, will be using them again.
One of my favourite wools was available from The Woolly Shepherd too - Dorset Down; she had a lovely vibrant stall, including baskets with fleece woven into them - I loved them.
for me, Cledry Yarner's stall stood out for sheer "OOoooohh - ness"!!! Beautifully made felt cosies and other items , in bright jewel colours were displayed against a plain white background to brilliant effect. I loved the felted soaps on sale at this stall, also available in kit form.

Bought far too much, with nowhere to put it at home, but had a whale of a time and could thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in textiles and especially wool.
Our day was rounded off with a great visit to Cold Harbour Mill, operational on both days in conjunction with Fibrefest - exceptionally interesting place to visit, so much to see, and beautiful wool in the shop, although by that time, I'd not money or space in theh car left!
Now looking forward expectantly to details of next year's event, but must get on and use up everything I bought this year first...........................

No impact man

Impressed by this family's efforts; if they inspire some to make even just a few small changes, their experiemnt will have been worthwhile. Certainly makes you realise what you *really need* in order to live.

Love it.
Summer's End chutney

6lbs of fruit/vegetables
3lbs tomatoes
4lbs soft brown sugar
1 lb dried fruit
2 pints vinegar
herbs and spices to taste

This is a great, reliable recipe for using up and preserving the last of the summer's harvest; mix and match the fruit and veg according to what you have available - anything goes, just keep the proportions of veg/fruit to sugar and vinegar right and you can't go wrong. Go wild with your spicing and create a chutney unique to you!

Life as yoghurt commercial

I often come across women who think their lives should resemble life in a yoghurt commercial; you know the thing I mean - ever-happy , shiny children, sparkly clean house, organiser calendar, with items "blocked in", time for this, time for that, day for organised "activities", all neat and tidied within an inch of everybody's lives.............
Well, in my experience, life isn't like that, and neither should it be. Life is for living, and a good healthy dose of spontaneity wouldn't go amiss in a lot of peoples' lives.
I do have priorities, but not, I feel at the expense of making the most of what life offers me and going with the flow. It would be nice to see more people throw away the shackles of convention and let their hair down from time to time and just let things unfold as they will.
That's my thought for the day..........

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Some recent creations from my needles; bit of a sockfest, but you can't have too many...............................

It's always good to start with cake...........

What I do..........

My aim is to live a long and happy life, living lightly on this earth; consuming less, creating more, just *being* more...........................
I am a married mother of two, living in the Blackmore Vale in Dorset, England. We live in a small rural village, and our house is an ongoing project, even after ten years here; the garden is much teh same - constantly changing according to whim and whimsy.................

I knit, cook, sew, bake, paint, draw, crochet, patchwork and quilt, brew, make, create, read, play the piano, think, garden, look after livestock, play an active part in the local community, take a general interest in the world around me, but on my terms.....................

I am interested in books, thinking, philosophy, spirituality, elementals, biodynamics, human rights, womens' issues, environmental issues, peace and justice.

I keep chickens, ducks, Muscovy ducks, bees and goats, and we have a dog. Two home educated children and a husband complete the scene.

I aim to post up what I do in my life, mainly at home, with pictures, poetry, quotes, all sorts.
Welcome to my world, I hope you feel inspired.................................


Welcome to my blog.............

I saw a man, an old Cilician, who occupied an acre or two of land that no one wanted.A patch not worth the ploughing, unrewarding for flocks, unfit for vineyards;He however, by planting here and there among the scrubCabbages or white lilies and verbena and flimsy poppies, fancied himself a kingIn wealth, and coming home late in the eveningLoaded his board with unbought delicacies.


I hope you find something to entertain and inspire you here - it's a journal of my striving to live and authentic, cretaive and simple life in the 21st century - I would welcome your company on my journey.