Tag Archives: Spinning

Plutonium Muffins at Towersey

Long-time readers of the blog will know about Towersey, a folk festival I’ve been going to for years. Located in Oxfordshire, this wonderful festival started in 1965, and each year gets bigger and better. I have always loved the vendors around the place, from handwoven jumpers to circus school, raku demonstrations to workshops for all types of musicians. It has long been my ambition to exhibit in the Craft Fair. This year, my wish has come true!

The Towersey Site - looking empty as we set up as traders for the first time.
The Towersey Site – looking empty as we set up as traders for the first time.

Plutonium Muffins at Towersey

I am currently based in the Plutonium Muffins stall in the Towersey Craft Fair, selling fibre and teaching people how to spin! I have so far taught three people the craft, got a lot of people interested in the process of wool preparation, talked about sheep for hours, and got sore feet from standing up drop-spindling or drum-carding all day!

I’ve also spent much of the last month designing cross stitch patterns, which are available this weekend. Some of them are adaptations of some open-source emoji designs, while others are my own original drawings converted into needlework. I particularly love my dinosaurs, which I sewed into a wall-hanging that I now can’t get enough of! You can get the patterns for these guys from Etsy here. Kits will be available as soon as I’m back from the festival.

A dinosaur wall-hanging; original designs copyright Coranda Berry 2015.
A dinosaur wall-hanging; original designs copyright Coranda Berry 2015.

As much as I am enjoying being at Towersey listening to some of my favourite music while engaging with people, today has also been really inspirational in terms of figuring out which direction I want PM to go for the next few months. I am really passionate about education and passing on skills – many of my friends have been taught to knit and spin by yours truly, and I believe that sharing knowledge is one of the best gifts one can give. I’ve been trying so many different crafts over the last few years, and I still find it amazing how sitting with other people can challenge, excite and inspire you while creating together.

I’ve met so many lovely people today and had plenty of good ideas. As a result, I have been Making Plans while sitting around the campfire eating curry and rice, drinking and ale and chatting about how the day has gone. Whether or not any of these will ever go ahead remains to be seen…but for now, I’m having a great time doing my favourite things together – crafting while talking about craft!

Setting up my stall at Towersey, expressing displeasure at being next to the sausage stall...the delicious smells will make me hungry all day!
Setting up my stall at Towersey, expressing displeasure at being next to the sausage stall…the delicious smells will make me hungry all day!
A half-complete, poor photo of my Towersey Stall. Better to come!
A half-complete, poor photo of my Towersey Stall. Better to come!

If you happen to be going to Towersey Village Festival this weekend, you’ll find me in the craft tent, giving lessons, selling my own fibre, Spin City UK fibre, and a variety of earrings and bits and bobs from Janet the Colourful Crafter. All of the things I have on the stand will be available on Etsy when I get back to London. If you just can’t wait, don’t forget to check out my cross stitch patterns!

Don’t forget to enter the Spin City giveaway, which will run until the end of Tuesday the 1st of September. You could win over £30 worth of goodies!

Much love,

Corrie xx

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[GIVEAWAY] Spin City UK

It’s time to announce the Spin City UK giveaway that I’ve been sitting on for a couple of months! When I helped out on the Spin City UK stand at iKnit Fandango, I came away with some goodies for myself as well as a couple of things to share with Plutonium Muffins fans. Get ready to get excited…

Spin City UK

Run by the gorgeous Louise, this amazing company celebrates the sparkly, colourful, whimsy, textured (insert a whole thesaurus’ worth of adjectives here) nature of fibre in the most unapologetically fabulous way! Louise studied textile design at uni in London, got into spinning and never looked back. Every time I meet up with her, she has got into a new craft – the latest is weaving, a fact demonstrated by this photo that she recently posted on Instagram.

Louise weaving - photo take from the Spin City UK Instagram.
Louise weaving – photo take from the Spin City UK Instagram.

Living in the wilderness that is the outskirts of Cambridge, Louise creates the most beautiful range of fibre batts, roving, handspun yarns, dye kits, dyed yarns and dyed fibres – not to mention her handmade drop spindles.

Using her own special talent for colour and flair, flowers from her garden and the countryside around her are picked and pressed, then inserted into resin whorls and assembled into the drop spindles. With a liking for glitter, sugar sprinkles, the vintage and the sentimental, flowers are often combined with pictures from old magazines, stickers, random bits and pieces that Louise takes a shine to, as well as left out altogether to create, for example, a spindle with a favourite photograph inside. Here’s a selection of some of my favourite products, fibre and spindles included.

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Louise herself is super stylish, with an amazing range of vintage dresses that suit her down to the ground. It is so inspiring to meet someone doing so well for herself at the green age of 26. (I’m allowed to say that because I’m 26 too, hehe.) Almost as awesome is the pink spinning wheel that she uses…

Amazing dresses at iKnit Fandango.
Amazing dresses at iKnit Fandango.
Louise in a beautiful blue dress, teaching my friend Jo how to spin at iKnit Fandango.
Louise in a beautiful blue dress, teaching my friend Jo how to spin at iKnit Fandango.
A gorgeous pink spinning wheel, with a smiling Louise in her throne.
A gorgeous pink spinning wheel, with a smiling Louise in her throne.

I’m not the only one who thinks Louise’s work is fabulous, either. Kristen of Voolenvine Yarns is a fan of her spindles, as is Sara of Crafts from the Cwtch, and a number of other people – just check out the reviews on Etsy to see how happy people are with these gorgeous items.

With that bit of background out of the way, on to the good stuff.

Spin City UK giveaway

Up for grabs from Louise is a one-of-a-kind spindle, as well as a batt of luxury fibre in colours chosen by the maker to match the colouring on the whorl of the drop spindle. I can’t find a batt similar to this in the shop at the moment to give you a better idea of fibre content and colours. This photo was taken in our lounge with slightly poor lighting, and the actual fibre is slightly less yellowy than this. I will be sad when someone wins it and gets to take it off my hands, as it has been adorning the mantelpiece for the last two months while I sort myself out and get ready to part with it!

Up for grabs in the Spin City giveaway!
Up for grabs in the Spin City giveaway!
Close-up of the spindle, with pressed flowers from Louise's garden.
Close-up of the spindle, with pressed flowers from Louise’s garden.
The giveaway fibre from the top.
The giveaway fibre from the top.
Fibre in this giveaway from the side.
Fibre in this giveaway from the side.

To enter the giveaway, please head over to Etsy and leave a comment on this blog post, telling me what your favourite product in Louise’s shop is, and why. Up to three bonus entries can be gained by sharing this post on social media and letting me know you have done so in another comment on the post.

The giveaway is open worldwide, and will close on Tuesday the 1st of September, 2015. In order to be eligible for the prize, you must leave a way for me to contact you; email preferred. If I do not hear back from the winner by the 14th of September, 2015, I will redraw for a new winner.

Best of luck to you!

Much love,

Corrie xx

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June!

Last month ran away with me – I am so pleased it is June, and new things are happening! My Bloglovin’ feed has 239 unread posts, my email had over 130 new emails to go through, and I haven’t been active on the blog at all! I attribute this to the flat being in a state as I’ve been working on various things. Well, I’ve spent the last two days Sorting Stuff Out, and I can now be in a healthier headspace and physical space. Hurrah!

June has Big Things happening, with a trip to the other side of the world, work for a new client (!) and Plutonium Muffins Ltd. two month birthday! Before I go on to that, here are my May Resolutions results.

I’m having trouble with taking photos at the moment, my phone has something funky going on with it and I need to figure out what this is – so excuse the lack of recent photos!

May 2015 Resolutions

I’m glad I’ve reviewed these, because I was feeling awfully despondent about how little I had achieved. As it turns out, I managed to do more than I thought I had. Hurrah!

  1. Turn the heel on Masokisi – success! After knitting the cuff a bit, I realised how big they were – and had to frog right back to where I started turning the heel. I’ve never swatched for socks before. I may start.
  2. Finish Naloa – success! And it’s super comfy too.

    The full and complete Naloa spread it in all of its glory.
    The full and complete Naloa spread it in all of its glory.
  3. Finish first half of alpaca fibre – success! I’ve also dyed it. It’s pretty :)
  4. Sew together hexipuffs for Tonks – success!
  5. Learn one new technique on my loom – fail…but I did learn more about the fulling process on finished weaves, which I thought was good work on my part. I need to get a new reed so I can weave fingering weight yarns.
  6. Make John’s birthday present – he got a new laptop case!
  7. Make Nico’s birthday present – failed.
  8. Make Mum’s birthday present – failed, but I sent her blank canvases instead, which I hope she will love!
  9. Mend dungarees – failed.
  10. Mend sweater – failed.
  11. Make Tonks a new bed – success – there were enough hexipuffs to make that a new bed for her!
  12. At least 7 hours leisure craft per week – yes, I believe I did.

I tried to be very specific for May, and I didn’t think it had worked. However, as I didn’t do as badly as I thought I had, I will try it again this month!

June 2015 Resolutions

John and I are going to Australia for a month on the 28th of this month! John is best man at a wedding, we are going to see Melanie in Melbourne, and the new baby in Auckland. It will be a busy July – but also preparation for Australia will be important.

  1. Decide which projects are going to Australia – because, travel knitting!
  2. Sew some presents for Baby Oliver – I knitted him Foxy Loxy, but he deserves more!

    A completed, lumpy, perfect Foxy Loxy!
    A completed, lumpy, perfect Foxy Loxy!
  3. Sew ring cushions for wedding – I’ve been commissioned to do this.
  4. Update Etsy shop – I have a lot of stuff to go on Skinny Lizzy…watch this space.
  5. Sort out insurance for Towersey – I have a craft stall at Towersey Village Festival from 28th to 31st August this year.
  6. Correspond with potential spindle supplier – a British wood turner saw me spinning this weekend and was intrigued.
  7. Scour half of the fibre from last year’s birthday – I was given a black fleece of unknown origin, and I really need to get it clean so I don’t lose my chance to use it.
  8. Figure out what overlocker requires – I was given an overlocker/serger last year, and I need to figure out what is wrong with it so I can start using it!
  9. Finish alpaca fibre – I’ve only got black fleece left now, I’m so close!

I think that’s enough to be getting on with for now. Please do come and join the Resolutions Monthly group over on Ravelry if you would like to join in on the fun! Have a great month.

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Normal Service (and the winner)

I’ve had such a crazy few weeks with preparations for a craft fair, but things are back to normal now that it is June. I will sort out my Resolutions for last month and the coming month tomorrow – for now I just wanted to announce the winner of the Owl Print Panda Giveaway!

And the winner is…

Lise! Not only did Lise enter via Plutonium Muffins and her social media, but she also blogged about the giveaway and was very nice to share this with me. Her favourite stitch marker was the bobbin, and her favourite pattern designed by Amanda was the Felted Fox bag. Congratulations, Lise, check your email for instructions!

The stitch markers Amanda sent me to give to one of you!
The stitch markers Amanda sent me to give to one of you!

Amanda’s generosity has extended beyond the giveaway, with an offer to anyone who didn’t win. To get a 10% discount on a purchase from the Owl Print Panda Etsy shop, simply enter the code ‘SUNSHINE’ at checkout.

My collection of stitch markers from Owl Print Panda.
My collection of stitch markers from Owl Print Panda.

The next giveaway is for the spinners and/or budding spinners out there, so keep an eye out…this one will last slightly longer as I am off to Australia for a month shortly, and won’t want to have the giveaway end to deal with while I’m there.

Before I head off Down Under, though, there is plenty to come. Just in case you are looking for a hint of what will be coming in the next month on Plutonium Muffins, think spinning, dyeing and a bit of knitting!

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Friday Round-up: sewing, sewing, spinning

This week has disappeared in a spiral of sewing and spinning – I’m so surprised it is already Friday! (I actually don’t think I know what day it really is? Monday?!)Anyway, with instant gratification something that I’ve been needing, as well as a craft fair in Kent to prepare for, I have been busy.

I didn’t post last Friday because I was at iKnit Fandango. Find out more about that in the Plutonium Muffins podcast, here.

Birthday

It was my lovely Wonder-Mum’s birthday on Tuesday, and I sent her some blank canvases. I couldn’t think of anything else – until I figured that as a painter she would probably appreciate materials, in the same way that I love receiving yarn. She was tickled pink, and I can’t wait to see what comes from it.

Happy Birthday Mum

Sewing for me

Since leaving my job last year for medical reasons, I have spent much of the past eight months lounging around at home in my pyjamas or my dungarees. Following on from a previous Friday Round-Up in which I talked about how I’m trying to take myself more seriously, I realised I need some new clothes. With a huge stash of fabric, a small stash of money, and a subscription to Simply Sewing*, a new magazine, I decided to take this into my own hands.

I have a large bust and good child-bearing hips(!), with a slim waist. And I’m short, I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about that? 5’3″ or 161.5 cm, to be exact. So normal sewing patterns don’t really fit. As a result, I’ve been making muslins to try tailoring some garments to my shape. The normal thing to do would be concentrate on one garment at a time, right?

Cleaning my iron before I could use it.
Cleaning my iron before I could use it.
African and Indian fabrics to sew into clothes for me. If I think I can deal with the colours and designs!
African and Indian fabrics to sew into clothes for me. If I think I can deal with the colours and designs!

That’s not how I roll. I have three fabrics, three patterns and three muslins in various stages of completeness lying around the lounge, which looks like a fabric bomb hit it. I anticipate getting some of this done this weekend, and hopefully next week I’ll be in some new handmade clothes!

Tonks getting involved in the sewing.
Tonks getting involved in the sewing.
Simply Sewing Magazine.
Simply Sewing Magazine.

Sewing for you

I’m selling at a craft fair in Kent on the 30th of May. As well as aprons, sock monsters and sarongs, I will be selling my cards, a new range of baby accessories and other sewed goods that I have been busy creating in my fabric-bombed workspace. I will also have a donation bucket full of ‘failed’ projects. Read: projects that had something go wrong with them and I don’t think I can sell. These will be up for free, although I will be accepting donations to Mind if anybody takes anything and wants to give some dollar to a good cause.

Sewing bomb hits the lounge.
Sewing bomb hits the lounge.
Bibs for babies.
Bibs for babies.

Spinning

I’ve finished plying the first half of Follow Me Down Cousin Jack! I have just 80g of alpaca fibre left, and will be finishing that this week. I’ve been spinning like a fiend, and loving it. I do need to think about my posture, which is currently terrible. My back is rather sore because of the strain this is putting on it. Need to sort that out! But loving the spinning.

Follow Me Down Cousin Jack - half done!
Follow Me Down Cousin Jack – half done!

Needle Felting

I’ve been playing with needle felting again. I’ve been making sheep and a little seal! I donated one of the sheep to Tonks, who can not keep her paws off them. I think she loves the wool! Anyway, her behaviour has been so instinctive and raw, which has been really interesting to see. I couldn’t help myself, I had to give it to her. There’s something strange about seeing around 8 hours of work get shredded by your over-zealous feline…the sheep was going to go to the donation bucket as I wasn’t happy with it, and that felt a bit liberating. She has me wrapped around her little finger.

A needle-felted seal!
A needle-felted seal!
Tonks with her new toy sheep.
Tonks with her new toy sheep.

Because I’m spending so much time on the sewing machine and making cards, I haven’t really had time to blog as much as normal. The problem is, if you don’t make, you have nothing to blog about! My knitting projects are all proceeding apace, and I’m loving my hap at the moment. I’ll give you an update next week!

Much love,

Corrie xx


* Eagle-eyed Twitter followers will have noticed I had a rant about this the other day. I said some terrible things. I will explain next week, but for now I will say that I’m on the fence about my subscription and am wondering whether or not I should continue with it.


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Bank Holiday Cowl

I decided to take the Bank Holiday off – which means that although I didn’t do any blogging, I got loads of stuff done! The big news item is that I’ve finished Naloa! I haven’t posted any photos of it yet as it’s still blocking and I want to do a Big Reveal – more on that later.

I’ve done a lot of running, and finished knitting the “Bank Holiday Cowl”. You won’t have heard about this before, because I designed and knitted it this weekend.

Bank Holiday Cowl

I used up my skein of handspun by the name of “Pharaoh” for this project. There were 121 metres of this, and it came out as a bulky/super-bulky yarn as I was practising spinning roving – it was only the second yarn I’d ever spun.

The Pharaoh yarn ready to become a cowl.
The Pharaoh yarn ready to become a cowl.

I wanted a simple lacy bit that would keep the knitting interesting, while also giving the cowl some structure, while showing off my crazy yarn to the best of its ability! I flicked through my book of lace patterns and landed on cockleshell lace. This required a garter stitch pattern, and as I wanted to knit the cowl in the round, I decided to scrap the garter stitch and just do it stockinette – shortly afterwards, I realised it was the same pattern as used in a section of Naloa!

I actually knitted it three times. The first time was at Wonderwool Wales using 5.5 mm needles – I had a grey and purple section in the yarn, which I included. It looked absolutely horrible. I unpicked it and started again.

The second time, I cast on the same number of stitches but used a 6 mm needle. The purple/orange/yellow section of the yarn was much bulkier than the grey and purple bit, so I knew I would have an issue with sizing, but I wasn’t sure how bad it would be. I did six repeats of the lace pattern, and got through the first section of the cowl before realising that it looked absolutely huge, and I wasn’t going to have enough yarn. Off the needles and into the frog pond again.

Wearing the Bank Holiday Cowl as a cowl.
Wearing the Bank Holiday Cowl as a cowl.
And wearing it as a crown the day Princess Charlotte was born!
And wearing it as a crown the day Princess Charlotte was born!

I did fewer repeats of the pattern on the last go around, and was happy with what I got. I did a stockinette section with a couple of eyelets for each repeat section, and ribbing at the top. I only did two rounds of ribbing because I didn’t have enough yarn- ideally I would have done a couple more. So this is the third incarceration of the cowl. I really like it, not least because it’s my own handspun, but also because it’s my own design. It’s definitely an organic ‘Corrie’ creation.

The Bank Holiday Cowl in vivid glory.
The Bank Holiday Cowl in vivid glory.

What did you get up to this weekend?

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Friday Roundup: Yarn, People, Projects

I am grateful for yarn, the people I love, yarn and the cat. I’m also grateful that I need to do this Friday recap, because I’m feeling particularly miserable right now and it can only be good having to focus on the good things! OH, but…pinch and a punch for the first of the month!

I’m writing this at 4 am – I went out for dinner last night and feel really sick as a result of something I ate. I think it’s less to do with what I ate and more to do with the type of food that it was…very rich TGI Friday’s grub. I used to be able to guzzle the stuff…my iron constitution has apparently failed slightly since the last time I went a few years ago! So, here goes nothing.

John Arbon Yarn

I saw John, Juliet and Frankie, some of the lovely John Arbon Textiles team, at Wonderwool Wales last weekend. I had a bit of a revelation as I was debating whether my souvenir fibre from the show would be roving or a skein of the Dove Grey Merino Laceweight that I recently gave away…as much as I wanted the lace yarn, I could get more bang for my buck with roving, and I ended up getting 300g of beautiful pomegranate coloured fibre to spin at my leisure.

Organically Farmed Merino Laceweight in Dove Grey.
Organically Farmed Merino Laceweight in Dove Grey.

A follow-up email with Frankie resulted in the best thing ever – she wanted to know if I would like to try the laceweight out, and has sent it to me for review. I asked for it in red rather than the dove grey (my twenty minutes of pondering made me realise that the dove grey at least didn’t compliment my skin tone), and it arrived yesterday. I’ve got a new section of my lounge which showcases our whisky and yarn collection, and it will soon be joining the piles here.

Beautiful merino laceweight - review to come soon!
Beautiful merino laceweight – review to come soon!
The new whiskey and yarn shelf. With added Vitamin C for health!
The new whiskey and yarn shelf. With added Vitamin C for health!

Before you ask, this is not my stash. This is the stuff that I can’t bear to put in The Trunk for now, either because it’s destined for an approaching project, or because it’s too pretty.

Wonderwool Wales

While I’m on the subject, Wonderwool Wales was a-ma-zing. I was sent a press pass by the organisers and spent a good amount of the weekend going around trying to get interviews with a range of people. I managed to get five in the end, and am still editing my audio and putting the podcast together, but it will be up very soon. I was a little overwhelmed by how beautiful everything was, how many vendors were there, the live animals (as if the p-LUSH episode didn’t let you know how much I like animals) and the size of the show.

I even managed to persuade John to come, so he has met some lovely friends of mine, and two parts of my world have collided in a way that was unexpected, but fantastic!

John enjoyed being in Wales a lot.
John enjoyed being in Wales a lot.
An Angora bunny! So fluffeh.
An Angora bunny! So fluffeh.

Ginger Twist Studio Yarn

I know, I’m meant to be cold sheeping. However, when Jess of Ginger Twist Studio put a few skeins of Je Suis Pret, an Outlander inspired yarn, in her shop, I knew what I had to do. This stuff is gold dust. I have no idea what it’s going to be, and I haven’t bought yarn without a purpose for a long time. It’s on my new shelf of yarn, and I’m admiring it at every opportunity.

Je Suis Pret in all of it's Fraser tartan inspired Outlander glory.
Je Suis Pret in all of it’s Fraser tartan inspired Outlander glory.

Meeting all the people

There was a lot of meeting up with people this week! Although I have had a cold, I managed to see an old flatmate, a university friend and John’s family. We were celebrating two birthdays, one which I shall tell you more about when I am allowed to, and the other my friend Grumpy’s. I failed at being a friend and left her present sitting on the side, so what a shame, I’ll have to see her again!

I got no photos of any of this, which is highly unusual, and a mark of how good a time I was having.

Project Progress

I said I wouldn’t talk about one of these until it was finished, but you can get the gist of it here. I’m doing well, and also have three other projects on the go which are in active service and doing well. I suspect I will have two, if not three finished objects this weekend – not too bad! More information on my modifications of Naloa here.

The Unmentionable Project, which is currently playing in the plying park.
The Unmentionable Project, which is currently playing in the plying park.
Naloa, three-quarters done. I should have bound off just where you see the last stripe of grey.
Naloa, three-quarters done. I should have bound off just where you see the last stripe of grey.

That’s all for now! I’m hooking up with my usual link parties, and will see you for the round-up next Friday.

Much love,

Corrie xx


PS I’ve had to bow to financial pressure and put some ads on the blog. I always told myself I would never do this, but with costs of web hosting, podcast hosting and general living rising, I need to get extra income everywhere I can. If you fancy clicking on a link, I won’t stop you..! Or you can directly support the Plutonium Muffins empire by clicking on the Support Sheep in the links bar to the right, or by visiting the Skinny Lizzy shop.

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May Resolutions and an April Recap

Before you even come near me today, I’m going to warn you that I have had a particularly terrible April, and my resolutions are not going to be even slightly achieved. With that in mind, I’m going to keep things for May fairly free – I seem to be hitting that ‘oh my, it’s nearly summer’ decrease in knitting productivity…

So, here’s what went down (or rather, didn’t) in April. To find out what other people are up to on Ravelry, check out Resolutions Monthly.

April 2015 Resolutions

I was feeling rather enthusiastic when I set these…perhaps that was part of the problem!

  1. Follow running schedule – I’m only just on track for the half-marathon in September, and I’m not sure how I’m currently feeling about the Nike Women’s 10K in June…the schedule says I will be running 12km regularly by then, but it hasn’t been good and I’ve had to rewrite the whole thing. I have no sick days left…which means I’ve taken two months off training over the last five months, which is no good!
  2. Send baby jumper to New Zealand – I sent it off and the little kiwi was born on the 29th of April! His name is Oliver, and I’m in love. I don’t think the jumper has arrived yet though.
  3. Cast on a new pair of socks – I cast them on – I thought I was doing worse on this resolution, as I remembered it as being “finish” a new pair of socks, so that’s a relief!

    My vanilla socks in Biscotte & Cie's Felix base, colourway "Hope"
    My vanilla socks in Biscotte & Cie’s Felix base, colourway “Hope”
  4. Write learners pattern – nope.
  5. Publish boxes with cards in it – nope.

I can’t say specifically what made me fail on those last two, or why my running has been so sketchy in April. I’m going to change tack slightly for May and see if that helps. I think getting out of the house regularly will help me on a number of different things, so I’m going to start doing reports for you!

I’m going to get more specific on the next month’s resolutions than I have in a long time, and see what happens. I started doing fewer each month about a year ago when my mental health started deteriorating significantly. Here’s to progress!

May 2015 Resolutions

Here’s the list:

  1. Turn the heel on Masokisi
  2. Finish Naloa
  3. Finish first half of alpaca fibre
  4. Sew together hexipuffs for Tonks
  5. Learn one new technique on my loom
  6. Make John’s birthday present
  7. Make Nico’s birthday present
  8. Make Mum’s birthday present
  9. Mend dungarees

    My dungarees started with an artful small hole which has gradually increased in size with wear.
    My dungarees started with an artful small hole which has gradually increased in size with wear.
  10. Mend sweater
  11. Make Tonks a new bed
  12. Do at least seven hours of leisure craft a week

I think that will do! I have never, ever had this many resolutions before, and I’m interested to know how it will affect me. There are lots of birthdays coming up, so I’m going to have to make sure I’m organised!

I’ve also been thinking about doing a link party for Resolutions. However, this will not be free and I have to watch my finances carefully now (because Plutonium Muffins is now a limited company donchaknow) so I don’t want to cough up and do it without knowing whether or not it will be used. Do you think you would join in on a monthly resolutions link party?

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Follow Me Down Cousin Jack

If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you’ll know that I have been working on the alpaca yarn project “Follow Me Down, Cousin Jack” for the longest time. Today is a fire-in-my-belly inspirational type of post to give myself a kick and update you on where we are at.

This has been kick-started by spending time with the Ashfield Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers over Wonderwool Wales – watching these amazing ladies do their thing and chatting to them has helped inspire me to get this project done!

Follow Me Down Cousin Jack

Here’s the recap of the project as we have it at the moment. Before I tell you about the actual spinning, come on a journey with me.

My parents live in Devon, and I used to drive down to see them on a regular basis. One day, I stopped for fuel at Honiton Garage – I was stopped short when I went in to pay by a huge display of yarn, fibre, felting kits and made items. I think the people behind the counter thought I was quite mad…the excitement at finding fibre in a totally unexpected place was quite shocking.

Tonks is really loving the alpaca fibre! I want to make her a bed of alpaca fibre so she can stop playing with mine!
Tonks is really loving the alpaca fibre! I want to make her a bed of alpaca fibre so she can stop playing with mine!

I bought two packs of Bearhouse Alpaca fawn fibre – for 200 grams I paid £6, which I thought was rather a bargain. This was unwashed and otherwise unprocessed – in order to get it into a form I could spin, I needed to pick the organic matter out of it. I decided to card it and make it into rolags that I could spin.

Meanwhile, at Unravel 2013, I found UK Alpaca for the first time and I bought a pack of assorted black alpaca fibre from them. This is spinning discard from their own mills – I’m not sure why they can’t use it, and this is something that I should perhaps chat to someone about, but I’m finding it fine with regards to spinning it myself!

Both of these packs of fibre have been sitting around since I bought them, with occasional attempts to spin them. I had a really productive moment in February with my Dragon Yarn, which inspired me to get a whole bobbin of Follow Me Down Cousin Jack spun – that’s the right bobbin in the below photo.

The two full bobbins ready to be plied when I've got my act together!
The two full bobbins ready to be plied when I’ve got my act together!

What had been holding me back was the need to sort the Bearhouse Alpaca fleece, and turn it into some sort of object that I could spin! For the last month or so, I have been sorting through the fibre for fifteen minutes per day. Yesterday in the time I was going to spend blogging, I spent just finishing off that pack of fibre. I then started spinning it, and now I’m all ready to go on getting it spun and out of my WIP basket.

It’s amazing how this project has become this huge monster in my mind, because I’ve been worrying about it so much. I’ve bought some fibre this year, which I cannot wait to spin – but I’ve told myself I’m not allowed to spin anything else until I finish this project. Now that I’ve broken the back of it and have just the spinning left to go, I’m wondering what the heck has taken me so long – but that’s always the way with projects that stagnate, in my experience.

The leftover project, with the prepared fibre on the right, finished bobbins on the left.
The leftover project, with the prepared fibre on the right, finished bobbins on the left.

Once I’ve finished spinning the Bearhouse Alpaca fibre, I will work on the UK Alpaca pack, which I have used a bit to mix into the BA fibre, and the next set of yarn will be all black. I have a number of potential projects for the yarn lined up – one is Precious by Belinda Harris-Reid, the other Elijah by Ysolda Teague.

The next time I talk about this fibre, it’s going to be a finished project. That’s a promise!

The Bearhouse Alpaca fibre on the last bobbin.
The Bearhouse Alpaca fibre on the last bobbin.

Has anybody else got projects that you’re loving but just struggling to get through?

Much love,

Corrie xx

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Tonks found the alpaca fluff

I have to try remember to be careful about Tonks and plastic bags – she finds them, sits in them and loves them to death. I am well aware of the dangers of suffocation, and she normally has no opportunity to cuddle up in a bag while I’m out.

Tonks - "didn' choo know kitteh iz recyclehbal?"
Tonks – “didn’ choo know kitteh iz recyclehbal?”

I haven’t taken advantage of the term “Caturday” nearly enough since we got Tonks, so here’s a Caturday post for you!

Alpaca Fluff

I’m busily sorting the fleece for Follow Me Down Cousin Jack (the spinning project’s name is inspired by the song in the video at the bottom of this post) and the picked fluff goes into a bag, ready for carding. I had just finished picking my clump for the day, and put it down for a second to go get myself a cuppa. When I turned around, this is what I saw.

Tonks in a bag - phone filter still on mono thanks to colour theory!
Tonks in a bag – phone filter still on mono thanks to colour theory!
Alpaca fluff makes the best beds, om nom nom.
Alpaca fluff makes the best beds, om nom nom.

I think Tonks is very unsubtly asking me to make her a bed out of alpaca fleece. She has already commandeered my sheepskin rug and my patchwork blanket…this is one battle she won’t win!

Tonks has been very involved in the process since she arrived, and we have a nice rhythm going at the moment. I get up in the morning, eat my breakfast and answer some emails. Then, we go out into the garden and while I’m drinking my second cup of tea of the day, I catch up on blogs and sort through the fleece.

This is working amazingly while the weather is good – sorting the fibre is quite a messy process, it’s very dusty and good to do outside as it means I don’t have to clean the flat after each session. Let’s hope the weather holds, at least until I finish.

I’m trying to sort through the remaining bag of fibre at a rate of a big handful per day so that I actually finish it by the time the year is up. A very scientific method, you see! You’ll have to stay tuned to see how successful I am…

Cat Crafts

While we’re cat it (hur, get it?!) – John sent me a link for this book the other day. He thought I would absolutely love it, but I have to admit that I’m on the fence. What do you think? (The picture is an affiliate link that will take you to Amazon.)

You won’t find me buying it anytime soon…though I probably wouldn’t return it if I got given it, hehe.

Have a great Caturday.

Much love,

Corrie xx

PS if you’re wondering what I’m on about w.r.t. phone filter and colour theory, read this post.

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