Friday, 7 June 2019


We ended up with two trips to the UK in May - one to Cumbria during the kid's spring holiday to stay with my parents and the other over their Ascension holiday to the Bristol area where we used to live and where my sister-in-law now lives.

It always feels good to be back in the UK - we left the UK in 2006 but it still feels like "home".  More and more I'm thinking that moving back to the UK would be the best thing for us to do as a family, but then there's part of me that after 13 years out of the country (or 18 years if you include the time I spent in the US between 1998 and 2003) that I'm probably looking at it through rose tinted glasses and would be disappointed if we did move back.  On the other hand - living in our own house with a garden and being able to speak to people easily and have my sarcasm understood sounds quite tempting!

Anyway, during the trip to Cumbria I ended up having quite a woolly time of it - I finally managed to visit The Woolclip in Caldbeck - it's been on my list to visit for ages and I wasn't disappointed.  I bought some dyed and undyed fleece to spin, F bought a book about needle felting and some needle felting needles; and R a french knitting kit.  

I've also always been taunted, until this visit, with the proximity of the knit and stitch show at Rheged - usually I manage to miss it, but this time the stars aligned and I managed to make it.  It was overcrowded, as these shows tend to be, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. 

Fuelled by borrowing some books on dyeing from my parent's next door neighbour and seeing Helen Melvin's stand at Rheged I have since bought one of her books about eco-dyeing as I'm especially interested in trying some solar dyeing.  More about that in another post.

F was keen to try something from her needle felting book and decided to try to make some felted beads that she could string together as a bracelet.  We collected some herdwick wool from the fields near Keswick and after giving it a bit of a wash and picking out the debris she managed to make this (with the addition of some dyed wool from the knit and stitch show):

I think it's pretty cool.  There were a couple of beads left over and she's since been letting her imagination go wild and making small creatures and monsters and dragons, which is cool.

Not wanting the rest of the herdwick wool we'd collected go to waste I bought a polystyrene ball and used it to help shape a needle felted bowl:

With the herdwick being so coarse it doesn't make a very dense fabric, but it stays together.  The coloured splodges are from the bag of mixed needle felting wool we bought at Rheged. 

I love the variety of greys you get from herdwick - they're all subtly different but blend so well and look so natural - in a way I wish I hadn't added the coloured splodges - but the kids said I should, so I did!