Sunday, 6 August 2017

Auchindrain Update

Ceilidh dancing, Open fires and Spinning at the Open Day

A real barn dance!! Music by Myles, an amazingly talented accordion player. I called the dances and we had an excellent time reminding the Scots and teaching the French some Reels, 2-steps and Strip the Willow. Based in our Dining room of Stoners Barn we danced and chatted, laughed and relaxed after several days of hard work.

We toasted potatoes, sausages and marshmallows over an open fire. Mixed results on the food quality and a few sausages fed the fire. Fortunately we had all brought a little something to share and nobody went without.

During the day we had lots of visitors coming to see both the results of the Dig and the demonstrations on site. I was spinning and had lots of fun teaching both on the wheel and with the drop spindle. A great day with lovely people, informative demonstrations and the food was pretty good too.
Today we are on the Halfway mark of our camp and I am looking forward to seeing what we will get up too next.

Until then Bx

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Archeology at Auchindrain

Digging, Living and Making Friends with the Past

For two weeks I'm working with Auchindrain, DigIt2017, X-change Scotland and others.

Our mission is to work with Local, Semi-local and French participants to start researching two previously undisturbed ruined buildings.

We are not sure what they were used for and are hoping to find some clues to determine a theory.

Two archeologists are walking us through digging a sample trench and checking layers as we go.

There is a lot of dirt and as this is Scotland, this means a lot of mud after the rain. However our participants are a bunch of troopers and have been working hard in all weathers.

Most of them with smiles on their faces ☺

There have been a lot of finds...

With some gems among them.

More from Me about this later

From the fields of Auchindrain


Saturday, 13 May 2017

Mela on your Doorstep - Sighthill

Woke up this morning to the sound of rain.


Event day and its raining. Still it was a great day.

Held in K.A.T.S. was a range of performances typically seen during Glasgow's Mela.

Music from bands and solo artists including a samba band (Love)
Wilf James and Samba

Lots of Dance performances and demonstrations.

All in all a great day For more images head over to my Facebook page

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Some more Garden Crafts...

I promise not to rant about moral questions this time.

Just an update on some bits of interest.


Woad you recognise me?

I know its an awful pun, but it had to be done.

Woad, the traditional blue dye of the Picts blah blah blah........

If you know woad you have probably heard all of this before so I wont repeat it but if anyone is wanting seeds for this plant give me a shout and we can try some swap/barter exchanging. The plants are flourishing and as you can see are starting to flower. It was a fun and easy plant to grow. Its first year of growth it reminds me of Chard, now a little bit like purple Broccoli.

I will be harvesting and dying with it sometime this year so keep following to see how it goes.


While digging and doing general garden maintenance I have collected these little beauties. The ceramics will be cleaned up and likely turned into either jewellery or some kind of mosaic.

The bark is going to be broken into thin strips and spun to try and make some bark rope. I will keep you updated


Monday, 1 May 2017

More Garden Crafts...

Working at The Back Garden's family Gardening Sessions has had me scratching my head and thinking about garden crafts again.

I have hopped in and out of this area of interest and am always a mix of fascinated and disgusted.

I love the inventiveness of people turning waste into pieces of art but more and more often I find myself looking at something and just asking WHY?

Why are you putting that in the best growing site? Do you know anything about growing? Why are you using something that will contaminate your plants?


That's not waste. Why are you wasting half the material on that? Why not reuse it instead of cutting it up?

Its a thin line between green arts and crafts and attractive waste disposal. I'm not sure where the line is and I'm permanently debating whether I should get into this corkscrew of a topic.

That said I did enjoy making this little guy so maybe I should just go for it.

Recycled garden bug

He may be getting a big brother soon........

Watch this space. Bx

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Knit New Lanark with DigIt 2017

Spinning at New Lanark

Thanks to the wonderful people at DigIt 2017 I spent World Heritage Day at New Lanark.

After a Spinning Demo and a chance to chat to people about Sheep to Shawl I went for a walk around this interesting site and saw the processing of  wool in New Lanark's mills.

A lovely day speaking to a great selection of people.

I hope to return and see it all again. Bx
For more images from the day visit my Facebook Page

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Crafts in the Garden.

Trying something new.

Weaving old Tee-shirts on a repurposed bicycle wheel

What do you think?

How about some twig fairies?

The kids love them. :)

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Sheep to Shawl

This project has been a long time coming but finally I got this

Welcome to the Wool Process

First we need Fleece - I currently have 3 different breed of sheep fleeces in various stages of development.

 No 1 - Blue faced Leister - White wool good for multi
Blue faced Leister.
purpose work.

No 2 - Black Hebridean (Scottish heritage breed) - Black wool that turns Gray with age.
No 3 - Jacobs - Black, grey, brown and white - Multi coloured and very tonal. Not considered as useful for dyeing. (we shall see)

Second how to wash it.

You can use chemicals, you can use a washing machine(if you don't care about it), you can use your bath. (Have fun cleaning it afterwards)

The problem with most washing methods is that most of them remove the lanolin from the wool leaving it all scratchy and uncomfortable to wear on your skin.

Or they end up a giant felt block still containing all the twigs and clumps you missed when brushing it out.

I tried some of the above so trust me with the downfalls. Lemon juice was ok, it wasn't strong enough to strip the oils and did clean up quite well but still I was looking for something better/lazier/cheaper.

Then I found it "The Fermented Suint Method" I'm not going to go into details now and I cannot find the link to where I originally read about it. If you google it you can find details. Will post full process in a separate bit.
Two Jacobs washed and being rinsed

Skirting and Carding

Skirting is when you have just got a fleece and you lay it out and remove all the sticks, poo and unidentifiable and unwanted pieces.

Technically skirting comes before washing but if you forget it wont be the end of the world (Or your fleece). Coming from personal experience here.

Carding is brushing. Kind of. You start with a clump of wool and you work it with two "brush" paddles. This will help break up clumps and straighten out your fibres to help with spinning in the future. It can be a good way to blend different colours and fibres.
Hand carders and Colin on the Drum Carder

Spinning - the process of making yarn

Weaving - In, Out, In, Out and shake it all about.

Felting - As well as accidental felting there are two ways I know to felt wool. Wet felting and needle felting.

There is also a process called waulking (Scot/gaeilic term) which is when you take a bolt of woven cloth and apply water and rhythmic friction to it until it is dry
The cloth shrinks down and become denser. It can also improve water resistance.

I have classes available for anyone who wants to try any of the above.
Contact me for more details