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Chock full of Wonderwool

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I know, I know, I’m massively late in the game to offer my thoughts on Wonderwool, but you know what they say; better late than never!

I managed to take my surprisingly enthusiastic fiancé along this year and we both found it a haven of inspiration, craftsmanship and encouragement. The calibre of stall was high, as it is every year, and it was a treat to show someone who’d never been before the sights and sounds. It also gave me an excuse to try a wealth of cakes that in the past I had somehow always missed. (He had a strawberry tart, I had a delectable brownie).

The wall of colour!

The wall of colour!

It was very hard not to be involved from start to finish this year, and walking away from Mum to go home in the evening was something I found incredibly difficult. It’s funny how much you can get used to a place, to seeing the same people, being in the same spot, watching the same things. Waking up on Sunday in my nice warm bed, knowing that I wouldn’t be greeted by the traders’ warm faces and a hot cup of Welsh coffee was something that I don’t think I’ll be able to cope with next year. I’ll have to get my act together and help out properly.

A busy moment....

A busy moment….

However, we did manage to have a good look around, see old favourites and discover some new ones. I loved having a nose around the new hall, and it’s so nice to see such a range of dynamic stalls.

It encouraged me to pick up my spindle, and almost every evening I’ve been home since, I’ve enjoyed continuing to learn. It’s something I’m looking forward to carrying on with it when it gets too hot to carry on with my chunky jumper. Yes it will get hot, one day soon! I’m holding out hope…

At a quieter moment...

At a quieter moment 🙂

Smelly, Colour and Knitting

What strange unpredictable weather May has brought us.  A little of every season all jumbled up and selected at random.  Regardless, the shearing has started and the sheep are free of their heavy load.  The fleece are being picked over and sorted.  I have a bubbly feeling!  I adore this sorting and selecting and skirting.  Probably i should get out more, but hey ho!  At least I am happy!

I have started THE solution today with 2 of the most gorgeous soft Shetland fleeces ever!  I need the solution is deal with these in a gentle manner, so I start with the finest fleeces.  The solution gets fierce as the summer goes on and often i will have to dilute it if the fleece is fine.  It needs diluting or the fierceness of the mixture can literally eat the fleece.  So here is the start of this years cleaning.  It felt good!



The large blue barrels are employed again! 

Does it say something very large about me that I find this exciting?  Just a thought!!!……..

Moving on……. to the weather?  Like the weather I am trying little bits of lots of things in no apparent order.  Inspiration is coming thick and fast and I have started lots of ideas and patterns.



The barn is full of colour, just like the hedgerows


And the Clematis is stunning and covering the back of the cottage completely!






Busy Easter

This has been a gorgeous Easter!  Apart from Easter day when the rain fell earnestly, it has been gorgeous!  I have been very busy.  I had a long awaited clear out.  I had to clear out a lot of things which were still damp from the flooding.  I had to tidy up and sort things out.  One of my daughters helped me which is such a supportive thing to do!  Clearing out can be emotional and very tiring.  We worked all day and had an enormous bonfire which was very cleansing in an odd sort of way. 


The dogs decided that all this busyness was infectious and they decided to start improving the garden.  So they got together and decided that what the garden really needed was a pond.


So they dug one.  This has the advantage of doubling up as a useful hole or a pond when it rains!!  Result!


Then 2 of them thought they could plant something in the hole, but they could not decide which way up it should go.  This took some time and resulted in many little options!!  The ‘pond’ is now big enough to place the terrier in without being noticed.  Work in progress..


I have been dying.  LOTS!!  Now I am trying to dry!  The cottage is FULL of wet wool in various forms!  The smell is not as good as the appearance!







Looking forward to seeing everyone at Wonderwool next weekend!

Cheerful Spin

As promised I have some pics of the plied spin of my new dyed rovings.  This particular one is Blue Faced Leicester.  I plied it this morning and think that the colours have worked really well.  I chose 2 different rovings which were based around similar colour palettes.  They have differences which are enough to make some colours suddenly ‘pop’ out, while keeping the same feel to the overall local colour.


I am pleased (but it does not take alot these days!)  Basically no wet does it for me!!  This cheers me up!


Not sure what I am going to do with it?  Knit?  Crochet?  Or just squish for a while…







Pups and Spins

First things first!  Just look at what arrived this morning after a very long night…..



9.  Yes NINE!!! 



SO proud and pleased



At the beginning of the week I spent a long long day (until midnight) dying some roving.  I am pleased with the results.





So please in fact that I want to spin it all!!  So allowed myself 2 lots of BFL.




When my new bobbins arrive I will ply them and show you the results.


This all makes the year so far not so bad.  To date the barn is broken as is the dog (not the mum), the microwave, the washing machine, the spin dryer, the tumble dryer and the car (impressively all by Feb 4th).  We are flooded YET AGAIN and the roof leaks.  But now we have 9 perfect puppies and all seems well!


Woolly Thinking

Today I am just going to air my voice for the record regarding dogs, dog beds and the combination thereof.  This delightful (or not so much) combination leading me to much woolly thinking…..

Once again greeted by a kitchen full of ‘snow’ and delighted young dog (and ashamed parents, well mum anyway), I have decided that my relationship with dog beds is finally all grown out of.  I have 2 bed shredders.  They have bones and toys and access to the outside.  They are walked for a couple of hours a day whatever the weather.  They have, in short a great life at the expense of my dogs life!

I have to admit that early this year I reached a similar conclusion and made 2 huge dog beds stuffed with great British wool.  I used the end of a bolt of the fabric apparently used in lining the bags at the reputable Mulberry company, to make a waterproof and tough outer lining.  I then made a cover for the bed in good quality fleece.  I made 2 of these beds Deerhound size and to date these beds remain intact.

The weather being delightfully soggy means that every outing results in a tribe of dripping muddy large smelly canines.  Said beasts lie on the beds and then try to dig out the wetness from the gloriously large wet patches which no one wants to lie on.

I bought an extremely expensive and large dog bed.  This wonderful item arrived with all sorts of promises (which I confess I neglected to read out to the dogs – mistake).  They did not realize that the bed was indestructable and water resistant etc etc.  Frankly, neither did the bed.  The foam base to the bed has survived well.  The surrounded padded sides, well… , not so much!

So, I set to again.  I dragged out an old tent (also not aware that waterproof qualities are much desired in such an item).  This I cut up with a great deal of help and supervision from above mentioned experts.  I sewed this into a double bed size and stuffed with semi-felted wool from the mill.  This is the waste from the spins and similar to the type used in insulation.  I closed the gap.

I went shopping and got the end of a bolt of checked fleece of robust quality.  This I battled through my sewing machine.  Smaller dogs????? They dont shrink in the rain!   But now we have a NEW DRY LARGE bed with not a shred of stuffing to be seen!!




All change!

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Well, the season’s are a changing and so is everything here at JBHQ.

Today has been one of those days where anything seemed possible. We began the day with torrential downpours, and ended it with beautiful blue skies.

Some people were not too impressed with the former:

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 Britain eh? Who can beat it.

Mum has also decided to go for a change and get a full fringe which looks great.


New season =  new hair!

We’ve also been busy putting the Etsy shop back online, so do head over for a butcher’s.

We’ve uploaded all the Jacob/Shetland/Alpaca that was launched at the shows this year, so that lovely shawl/jumper/cardigan/hat that’s been in your queue for yonks can get underway!

As ever, we’ve got limited stocks, so get your skates on, and remember, we post anywhere in the world!

Adios lovely readers, you’ll no doubt be hearing from Mother shortly!



Early Autumn Inspirations!

What a glorious start to autumn this year! I feel optimistic and inspired which may not be a good thing for my family! The colours in early turn are gorgeous and they have inspired lots of action on the knitting front.

Here are some new designs and new colourways and inspirations ………

I also recovered from my single crochet attempt which turned into a bathmat. The bathmat is successful since it lies beautifully flat if you stand on it! Result!!

Now I am on to new pastures. I saw the Lorna Doone shawl from Natural Dye Studio and I love it. Being a mostly wild child at heart, everything appeals about this design including the name. So for my second attempt I am trying this. As a ‘ps’ I think possibly one should have crocheted a bit more before attempting this! I have reduced the time on a motif from one and a half days to 4 hours now! And have completed in my fashion 8!! This may be my life times work since there are a lot of motifs in the shawl! BUT I still want it and so will plod on…………..


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Doors are the window to the soul.

No, hold on, I think I may have got that a bit wrong.

Nevertheless, it is a generally held philosophy that doors hold meaning in the wider view of life. You know, “when God closes a door, he opens a window”, “doors of opportunity”, all that jazz.

Yep, I’m literally talking about doors; them things with the handles that separate one room from another.

Now, I’m going to hazard a wee guess and say that you probably take doors for granted.

Controversial, I know, but I find it hard to believe that we have a large number of door aficionados following this blog. If I’m wrong, I offer the heartiest of welcome to all those who can’t get enough of the hinges and handles.

I’m getting a little off topic here….

I certainly took doors for granted. I didn’t even give them a second thought. And if I’m  honest with you (and, dear reader, I will always be) it’s hard to think of something I cared less about than doors.

That was until I came home one day to find my door gone. Completely vanished. I thought we had fallen victim to one of the most specific robberies of all time.

I marched downstairs, livid, to inform my dear mother of the terrible crime that had befallen us.

There, in the unrelenting sunshine, stood my mother, giver of life, taker of dirty washing, elbow deep in dye, wool covering the most enormous make shift table.

“Mum! We’ve had a crime.”

“Oh, dear daughter? What crime has happened upon you, most beautiful, charming and intelligent of all my children?” *dialogue may be slightly misremembered…

“My door. It’s gone. I have no door. I am doorless. I am effectively living in a barn.”

“Oh… That…”

At this point, my darling ma gestured to this disconcertingly large table in our midst…

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Well… At least the aftermath is pretty…


I think the experience has left me more changed – I’m more friendly now.


I mean, come on in, my door is perpetually open.


Post WoolFest

Wow, wow, wow!! What a fab show that is. All those lovely creative people all in one place, and despite the torrential rain on Friday! Great customers full of inspiration and buzzing with ideas and enthusiasm. I owe a huge THANK YOU to all of them! PLUS the lovely wonderful tech editor Steph Boardman who literally saved the day. THANK YOU Steph you are amazing! Steph is so cheerful and hard-working besides being incredibly gifted in lots of textile ways. Steph helped me out and she has to be the reason I was still standing at the end! AND she helped with the pack up!! Friendship way over and above the call of anything. Oh, and one more thing……. PLUS she got me drop spindling! I have to wait till Fibre East to get the yarn off the spindle and learn to ply but look what I did!!!

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Now here lies a tale…….. On Saturday morning before the show opened I managed to pop quickly round the top hall. And I found a stand which brought me to a stand still! BEAUTIFUL turned wood pieces. I had to touch. Love at first sight…….. TOTALLY smitten. What ever it was I HAD to have it. ‘It’ turns out to be useful too!! Never in my life would I have considered a spindle. I have a wheel (or 2) and spin happily on them when I get the chance. Spindles are too slow and way too fiddly…… BUT I had to have this beautiful item. It is made of 5000 year old Bogwood Oak apparently. You can literally feel its provenance and life. It has me addicted. I am literally binge spinning now. Almost like punctuation throughout the day, a load of washing, spin, walk the dogs, spin, answer emails, spin, sort an order, spin, make some calls, spin, wash up, spin, pay a bill, spin, spin, and so on. Ok so there is not that much on there but I have never done it before and it takes a little learning, especially since Steph is not here to help (why not???).


Anyway apart from this the dogs are recovering from an exhausting show…….

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And I have almost dealt with the post-Glastonbury wash and our wet wet wet show stuff! So I am getting somewhere close to being able to face the barn where we literally threw everything in to deal with ‘later’ whenever that is!!

On ward and upward towards the next show which is later this month, FIBRE EAST!!

Can we have sun this time please?

Next week? Spin, dye, spin, dye, spin, dye…………… O and I have to knit some more samples and finish making a blanket and spin and dye and spin and dye……..and spin………..