I've spent most of the last week working on the caravan. All the dyeing is done in the kitchen of the static caravan, we primarily got the caravan when we moved in as extra accomodation for family and guests, but it's also come in useful for storage. Over the past couple of years I've slowly filled it with everthing associated with HilltopCloud. It's where the extra undyed fibre lives, the display stuff for shows, extra drum carders for workshops, cardboard boxes for the spinning kits, stock I'm building up for a show, and anything else I don't have room for in my barn. It was still arranged in a standard static caravan format, 2 bedrooms, minute kitchen, compact bathroom, and a seating area with a huge TV unit. Most of the fibre was piled up on the seating, and on the double beds, and the kitchen was tiny, making dyeing hard work.
This summer I decided to do something about the lack of space and less than ideal layout, and knew I had a bit of a gap between Fibre East and the next show (Yarndale at the end of September).
Here's the start of the work, we'd already taken off the cupbaord doors, but you can see how tired the kitchen looked, and the lack of space.
Here's all the units removed, and the fridge. The cooker stayed in place, partly to avoid complicated gas pumbing problems, and I'd worked out a layout where it didn't need to move. The wall to the right is the bedroom wall and that was next to come out, opening up the space. Behind this is the other bedroom, that's stayed in place so we do still have a spare bed if we need it.
As ever with these jobs the dogs tried to be helpful, mostly by lying under your feet as you were battling a particularly awkward bit. Gwen in the end worked out that under the table was the safest place!
Here's the small mountain of wood we removed, a kitchen, the TV unit, part of a wall, and all the bedroom furntiture.
And here's the finished project.
A stainless steel workbench at the pefect height for me, sealed on to a splashback so it's easy to clean. Wipe down metal shelving for mixed dyes, and all the other bits and pieces, proper shelving for me to organise powdered dyes. Much better than a tired looking chipboard TV unit, with a wardrobe that was never used.
Here's the other end, the mini sink is gone and in it's place a full size sink wth proper draining board. The spin dryer can now drain directly in to the sink, instead of having to sit on the floor and emplty in to basins that inturn have to be emptied.
In place of the second bedroom with it's lumpy mattress that filled the entire room there's proper shelving. I've also taken up all the old lino. It had holes in it, and the roof is no longer completely water tight. In a few place we peeled back the lino and found that the roof had seeped water down the side panels of the walls and then sat in puddles rotting the chipboard of the floor. This way I'll spot leaks, and we can fix them, and the floor will stop rotting. The blue floor paint is rather bright, but I'll soon get it dirty, and it was leftovers, so therefore free!
And at the other end, there were seats under the piles of fibre, who knew! I also found my blocking wires, I've been playing hide and seek with them for the past couple of months. Also just in shot is the brand new lighting, gone are the moulded glass shades and dim bulbs and in their place are some spot lights, this winter I won't be peering through the gloom anymore.
It's not been a cheap project, but well worth it in terms of saved time and greater productivity. I also no longer need to worry about gaps in the chipboard soaking up spillages. I've now got the space to do larger dyelots, and fibre with longer colour runs. Most of the furniture is from Ikea, the sink unit, table for the spin dryer and all the shelving, as was the lighting. For what I wanted there were by far the cheapest I could find. The longer table is a stainless steel catering table, with a splashback made from a piece of perspex cut to the same length.
The first dyeing starts tomorrow, Yarndale is at the end of September, and I'm also planning a week's holiday between now and then.