One of the things that visitors to Wales always comment on is that if you blink the weather changes. Today was prime example! Waking up to a blizzard, and the hills being white over. Three hours later and the snow has melted, and it's back to being a chilly, sunny, spring day.
Our beehives have had a lovely start to the spring, all 5 hives survived the winter, and are starting to bring in lots of pollen and nectar.
They're very comfortable on their new stands, made from the bottom sections of display boards recycled from Newtown Textile Museum. We've swapped some of the hives in to polystyrene hives, and those colonies have done really well because they're so well insulated.
One of the things that people often comment when they come to Wonderwool is how much they love the drive through the scenery. Last year Meirionydd Beekeepers were at the Royal Welsh Show, and we had a lovely video playing on loop. I can't embed it here, but it's a lovely peaceful watch, really worth going to look at.
Despite being self employed there is still a rhythm to my days. A weekly rhythm of sending out parcels, a monthly rhythm of sending out fibre clubs, a yearly rhythm of yarn festivals.
It would appear I've added a biennial rhythm to that pattern... entering The Longest Thread competition.
Two years ago I sent in my first entry, and came 5th. The yarns have just come back from this year.
And yes, I upped my game! Two entries, one on my wheel, one on my Hansen. In terms of how I did... close but no cigar! My wheel entry was much better than last time, but only good enough for 4th. My e-spinner entry was second.
I swapped my fibre for some Falkland Merino this time, which was finer than the Bowmont I used before, but mostly I suspect I need to work on my patience... Looking at my thread it's easy to see where my mind wandered and the thickness increased.
So am I going to do it again... very likely. The lure of the thread is strong, and it's nice to spend part of my Christmas holidays focused on a technical challenge that increases my skill level. Still a very long way to go though, maybe next time I can break that 400m barrier!
Well that didn't go according to plan. First of all I took a break and went away on holiday. Then there was a break in our phone line which meant no internet for a month, then there's been a break from blogging because it takes a lot of screen time to catch up on no internet access, and blogging just wasn't top of the list.
However, the list is now a sensible size, and I can play catch up on the blog.
So, first things first, a holiday.
It's become something of an annual tradition for a group of us to hire a Youth Hostel in the spring. The past few years we've gone to Clun, but we've outgrown the space, and wanted to go away for longer. So we found a bigger hostel, with a bigger kitchen in Leominster.
It's a bit of an informal affair, we sit and spin, knit, weave, but there's no teaching. Cooking is courtesy of Wrigglefingers, with a bit of assistance. We eat well.... oh boy do we eat well. It's taken the past month to remove the after effects of the eating! A new highlight for this year was nightly themes, with different people taking in the responsibility to decorate the tables each night.
The nice part about being away for a week was that I got to go and have some adventures in a part of the country I'd not been to before.
I visited quite a few churches, I do love looking round them, and the graveyards. The snowdrops were spectacular this year, it almost makes me sad that 2018 will be later in the year so they won't be out.
There was a trip around the Black & White Villages of Herefordshire discovering geocaches, and a drive over to Hereford Cathedral to visit the Mappa Mundi.
In the cathedral I was utterly captivated by a modern stained glass window tucked in to an out-of-the-way side chapel. The level of detail was comely breathtaking, and the use of colour was wonderful.
Then there were the signs... Maruading savages, and of course Leominster town council still own a Ducking Stool.
Then there is actual crafting content... As ever the pile of projects outweighed the available time, but I did get a couple of hundred grams spun.
We always host a swap table. A particular highlight was this wonderful intarsia book. I'm pretty certain Liz Hurley would like all copies of this book to be burned!
It wasn't burned however, but instead went off to a very lovely shop in town where we all made purchases during the week. Clever Betsy is a project that gives opportunities to disabled people. They have a small shop in town, where they also run activities to make items that are sold in the shop. The whole place was a cornucopia of crafty delights, vintage patterns, buttons, yarn, notions, fabric scraps.
If you want to come and join us, then we're doing it all again next year at the end of March.
It's shared rooms with bunk beds in them, so you have to not mind sleeping with strangers. The food is home cooked, but tasty, and plentiful, with some element of choice, though it's usually along the lines of a vegetarian dish, meat dish and side dishes. You also have to be willing to help out in the kitchen on occasion, and things like washing up are also communal jobs.