I heard the cuckoo in the valley this morning as I was letting the chickens out. Then as I was eating breakfast we spotted a Swallow. Now I'm just awaiting the arrival of the House Martins and it will start to feel like summer.
Mind you, I've seen the weather forecast for next week and I'm not getting to excited, my tender plants will be staying safely in the greenhouse for a while longer.
Slowly the hills are turning more green, but it always take a while here. One of the joys of looking at the hillsides at the moment is that you can spot all the apple trees that are part of the hedgerows. The Hawthorn has it's buds, but the May isn't quite ready to impress us yet. Last autumn we bought an ornamental Hawthorn that has red flowers so I am looking forward to seeing that.
I'm still working full time (in fact more full time than usual to keep you all supplied with materials!) but there have been a few bits and pieces I've finished off this month.
The warp I wound for the indirect warping on a rigid heddle loom tutorial has now been woven. At the beginning of lock down I bought myself a new loom as I fancied having a go at weaving more complex patterns with finer yarn, so a 4-shaft lout Erica is in the middle of being assembled.
I've also been quilting.... I bought the fabric for this on my last escape from Wales before the current time of great uncertainty. It was meant to be a present for my Aunty for her birthday in the autumn, but I decided she should have it sooner. The centre of each square uses an elephant print fabric because she loves them, and I then spent the day wanting mourn The Stitch Festival in London creating a palette of Fat Quarters, starting off with some amazing wax print fabrics in bold reds and blues. The back was a piece of eco-dyed fabric, using madder, onion skins turmeric(this isn't a true dye, but the backs of quilts don't get much light, and the fabric was mordanted properly so it might stick around for a while), and some leaves from the garden soaked in iron water.
I've also finished off this quilt, which is perfect Quarantine sewing because there is no precision or planning required.
It’s a completely improvised design, with bits of theory from both of Rayna Gillman’s books, and some bits and pieces I picked up at workshop I went on last December.
I’ve had a tea towel from Herdy that I’ve always loved too much to actually use, featuring a beautiful wood cut of the stages of wool processing. I cut that up in to panels, and then just sewed together scraps, some of them are from fabric I’ve printed myself or dyed, others leftovers from other projects.
The back is another piece of eco-dyed fabric, using some leftover cochineal from a skein of silk I dyed, and the madder from the previous quilt, and some birch bark. Then the cochineal and madder got thrown on to the quilt and bundled up for some more eco printing. I soaked the leaved in copper water this time, and there's a vague hint of their impression, but not as precise a print as I get with iron water.
I got the Procyon dyes out and dyed a bundle of fabric to go with my picture, one of them has already been used in the backing of the quilt above!
For May we're getting ambitious and packs of fabric and Procyon dyes have gone out in the post... we're going to have a go at doing a full workshop on colour mixing via Skype.
On the business front things are carrying on normal here. Our post is still being collected from the doorstep, though the delivery speed is erratic at the moment. Royal Mail are doing an excellent job, but sometimes things are taking longer than the amazingly quick speeds we've all become used to. I have good supplies of lots of fibres, including the supplies for the Time Travellers Club for the next 2 months. My suppliers in Italy are now dispatching orders again so there are regular supplies of Superfine Merino & Silk, Cotton and Ramie arriving. The Tour de France has been delayed until September... but the Tour de Fleece is going ahead in the traditional July time slot, and over in the Ravelry group we decided that we'd take part as normal, and we could always do the whole thing again in September if the race manages to happen. Please do come and join us.