For years this has been the base of all things Hilltop Cloud. It started out as over-flow sleeping accommodation for friends and family when they came to visit, but gradually became taken over with pretty much everything related to running a fibre business.
I started out just using the kitchen space as an ideal area to dye that wasn't used for food preparation, and then gradually all the internal fixtures and fittings were taken out, until inside it wasn't much more than a shell
It wasn't new when it arrived here, replacing an even older static caravan, but over the past 5 years it's started to develop more and more leaks, that no amount of repairing ever seemed to stop in the wet Welsh winter. In the winter it's freezing cold because there's next to no insulation, in the summer it's boiling hot because the sun hits the metal roof and turns it in to an oven.
So finally it's time for it to be replaced. It's taken 8 months of backwards and forwards to get planning permission, but at the end of March the old caravan will be no more (as much as possible will be re-used or recycled in someway), and I'll be getting a new wooden cabin. It's being built by a local firm (actually a local one-man business), using locally sourced materials as much as possible. It will be insulated, so I'll be able to work more efficiently, and I will be able to design how the space is arranged to exactly suit me. I'm really excited about it, and I also wanted to say thank you to all of you, because this is what buying small means. The profits from my business can in turn be spent supporting another local small business.
Now this obviously means I am going to be without a dye studio for a while... if you take a look at the online shop you'll notice it's very full at the moment! I've been working towards the arrival of the planning permission and the starting of building work since January. There's lots of stock already listed, and lots that's sat waiting for photographs in the coming weeks. I will be setting up a temporary stock room, so orders will be posted exactly as normal. The Gradient Club is going to be dyed in advance for the next couple of months to make sure that goes out with no interruptions. The new stock room is a bit smaller than the current space though, so to make some room I have shuffled some items in to the Sale section.
Spring seems to be arriving here, and as ever the Snowdrops are the first to really put on a display. This photo was taken up in the Dyfi forest, by a farm that has long since been stalled up by the conifer plantations. Someone must have planted snowdrops in the garden long ago, and they've now spread all around the ruined buildings.
February has also bought much story weather, which has been dramatic, but thankfully not done any more damage than we often get during winter storms. Sadly the Eucalyptus and Cherry tree fell victim to Storm Franklin, but other than that everything is in one piece ( I half wondered if the week of storms at the end of the month would do the job of dismantling the caravan for me!). After the storms are over a trip to the coast to see the sea is always great fun. This was at Tywyn, and the strong winds and breaking waves produced mountains of foam that were great fun to play in.
I've not got a great deal of crafting finished this month, though there is a quilt top awaiting it's backing and batting, but I have been enjoying making little things. I bought a copy of Yoko Saito's Handheld Patchwork Treasures (Blackwells link as they have UK stock, and pay their taxes, but oddly the site doesn't have a cover image, but do go and google as other sites will let you look inside to see the contents...) , and have been using up oddments to make some bags and pouches. These pieces were the offcuts from a quilted cushion cover, which in turn was made using the offcuts from a quilt. It's a little wonky, but very charming, and seems like it will be a very useful thing.
One of the things I will be doing over the next couple of months is offering more online sessions, there will hopefully be another couple of live workshops, and some talks. The first of which will be on dyeing fibre using acid dyes. This will start at the very basics of creating stock solutions, but quickly move on to more technical aspects of how to put dye on to fibre and end up with a huge variety of results. It's in the form of a talk with slides and video clips, and there will be chance to ask questions at the end. I'm going to be running the talk twice (the same content on both evenings), on 14th March and 16th March, both at 7.30pm in the evening UK time. It's going to be roughly 90 minutes, and will use Zoom's automated captions. Both talks will also be recorded, and buying a ticket gets you access to that recording for 2 months.