Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Heather moors in bloom

I went up onto the hillsides yesterday with my ever faithful companion!
Thought you would like to see these images...
it was just simply gorgeous.

The hills are covered with heather in bloom this time of the year here,
grown for the grouse of course, but a beautiful spectacle 
and the scent was, well, sublime!
Warm, rich and honey scented, no wonder the honey itself from
these flowers is just so good!

...it just seems to go on for ever!

Just over the top is Swaledale itself....

.....and here she is, enjoying her bit of the world.

As you can imagine the bees are loving this and the sound of their collective 
droning is so loud you actually think it could be a 
motor bike on its way!

Just the best!  ;0)  x

Thursday, 14 August 2014

A new episode?

Hi again,  well I've made it!
After two years, today I hand in my last pieces of work at college, Bradford.
That means I have finished my course....yay!

Problem now, what to actually do that creates a decent income -
guess we all know that one.  Hmmmm!

Well as a starting point I'm getting back on track with my fibre work.
I've had 6 months away from the hand spinning, I know unbelievable eh?,
and thought I would give a glimpse of what has begun this week.

This is my first hank of yarn, hot off the press so to speak, at my new place 
here in  Swaledale.  Still using the Wensleydale from next door - have you
ever tried to wear Swaledale wool.....eeek!  :0)

This, and a following group of yarns, I am calling
'Silk Meadows'.
I have made my own blend of w'dale and silk here, hand dyed too,
and it echoes the glorious colours you can find in the old flower meadows
and hedgerows here in the Dale.

.....here it is again with a couple of my Wensleydale
hanks from the previous place,
'Early Autumn' and 'Stripes'.

.....something else I'm working on is this blend called
'Silk Drift'
It will be spun as a singles again, somewhere between a manufacturers
4-ply and a heavy laceweight.

This is another batch of 'Silk Meadows', just off the drum carder,
And waiting in the spinning queue.

All these will be available with Jenny of the lovely
'Knitting Basket' fame over in Hawes!

Off to get ready for the trip to Bradford now to get this course completed.
Loved doing it, great experience and lots learned but I'm ready
to put into practice now!!!!

Best wishes to you all out there, Ash.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

A new place !

I'm starting to find my feet in this new part of the world, might be just over the hill to the Dale next door but it is soooo different....in a good way!
Starting to like the new place but the moving of the 'stuff' got to be a bit traumatic!
Thumbs up for Swaledale :0)

My new garden friends...lots and lots and lots of house sparrows

 Some gorgeous flowers in the garden...

 The local Post Office and village store dressed up in its finery for the 'Tour de France'...
yes there is still a local PO here...wow!

The village green, which you can't see on a week-end for all the cars parked on it!

.....and just one of the local 'watering holes'.

Its got to be worth all the effort.  :0)

Monday, 9 June 2014

Bradford art college - summer show

Hi everyone!
Once again I went quiet for a while....but simply because I became so engrossed in completing my final project for my HNC course time just seemed to fly by!

I'm just back from a week-end at the college setting up for the summer show there,
thought you might like to view my creations.
It became a very personal project, based on the colours of white and sky blue...
the photos I used as a base image were of clouds in a bright spring-time blue sky.

White is a very spiritual colour and the whole project became closely entwined
with thoughts of my older brother who passed away in February and who, outside of his work as a civil engineer, was also a glider pilot and knew well these skies I could only view from the ground!

.....my starting point, such gorgeous contrasts.

....a new purchase, this chair is destined to become my spinning chair.
I re-covered the seat base, created a small back cushion from the same warp and using just my heddle loom made a wrap for my shoulders of merino, silk and lightweight mohair.
Hardly any weight to it but oh so warm!

....this is a little close up of the blue banding on the chair pad that I especially liked.
 ....one of my scatter cushions.

 ....another cushion grouped with my 'Sky' tartan and a little weave insert on the
sewing box in silk on a block draft.

A few swatches that didn't make it to final items....
though I could well be revisiting them!
This one used an elastic yarn to create the ruffles....

....I enjoyed adding the highlight yarns to this one,

....and definitely a technique to re-visit,
hand-painting the warp on the loom!

 ...so here is the final layout,
quite coastal and New England looking, very calming my colleagues thought 
and cool and fresh.

This last image is of a phrase that came to me whilst working,
I guess the only barrier to our imaginations is ourselves.
On to London new Designers in a fortnights time with just some of these items,
wish me luck!
Ash.  x

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Feeling a little sheepish!

Springtime walks in the sunshine....
just gorgeous!
Not many words...just lovely images.  ;0)

Best wishes for springtime everyone.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Weaving project - number 6.

Trying to catch up on some time with this weave project....
the last one to complete my HNC course!  Gulp!

What kicked it off was my blue and white quilt and simply wanting to weave with white....
then I took a group of photos on the way to work one morning,
the gorgeous winter sky and bright white clouds echoed the colours in my mind
so this was really my source point.

First stage is to work on the sketchbook so today I've been playing with collage bits
and my new 'Brusho' inks.  :0)

.......remember those school days, of playing with bits of tissue paper?

....more on the abstract side, I got hold of some plain old masking tape,

.....and set to creating thumbnail colour washes.

Then I let loose the inks, keeping the theme of clouds and sky
in mind....

.....using some hand made paper for texture,

....adding the ink powder to wetted paper and letting it do its
own thing!

.....then masking the paper with white candle wax.

Yep, I've had a really good play-time today.  :0)
See ya!  x

Monday, 3 March 2014

Holding memories......

It has been quite a while since I have been near blogdom
but that is because I was spending some very precious time with my older brother
 who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

I just wanted to put out into the ether so to speak my sadness that he lost his fight recently 
and that we, his family, can no longer be near him.
We didn't live in each others pockets over the years but we all knew 
that the others would be there if needed.

There is a big gap in our family now and I guess it is only time 
that will make that any easier.
I only hope that now there can be a little peace from, and for, everyone that has known him.

Remembering you kid.  xxx

David,   July 1960 - February 2014

Saturday, 4 January 2014

A working Mill

I thought this might be of interest to some of you, it was an eye opener for me
and something that helped me connect to my families past!!

As part of my last visit to college, just before christmas, we went
as a group to visit a local, working woollen mill at Bradford.
Compared to the huge working mills of the last century in this area I guess
it is actually quite a small affair but it was so fascinating!

.....all this gorgeous wool set up for cleaning, mainly merino and shetland.

.......vast drum carders where colours begin their blending process.

......yarn being spun, machines in huge ranks!
This was the part that hit home for me as I know my maternal grandmother,
as a young teenager, worked in a spinning mill in close by Wakefield.

.......now that's what I call a yarn stash!
Enormous bins of stockpiled yarn singles. The in house textile designers
get to play with all this....oooo, the envy!  :0)

......ranks of weaving looms in action, just a small number I guess compared to what used to be,
but the noise!  You do begin to appreciate what it was possibly like when our
wool and cotton industry was at its height!

.....a close up on just one loom, the speed at which these machines work
makes you feel sadly slow when in front of your table loom!
To actually see the fabric growing before your eyes....in seconds.
I'm sorry, it was simply a wow moment for me!

....lengths of cloth, having been washed, are swept into these trolleys
to be moved to yet another machine for the drying process.

......and at the end of the process all these gorgeous bolts of fabric
that simply get your fingers twitching.

It is just simply wow, fantastic, and to think that it is still happening in little old Yorkshire
in this new century......its wonderful. I am so pleased that some companies
still manage to hang in there and to produce such gorgeous textiles.
 ......just a small snatch of part of their collections.

One day, maybe this could be me!!!!!!!  ;0)))
Cheers!  x