Do you like my new Call Ducks?

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As I mentioned in Hallo Again! I have a big garden here in rural West Wales, and one of the plans I’ve had for my new home is to keep poultry again, and I have made a start!

Just thought I’d show you my new call ducks – both drakes and for some reason I’ve named them George & Edward, although at the moment I can’t tell them apart.

They’ve only just been let outside in the last couple of days and its a joy to watch them wander around, getting excited about eating some of the grass for me, and even better, have been searching the ‘patio area’ for nice juicy slugs – and devouring them!

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Here’s proof – I caught this photo just as George (or Edward) had one in his beak – it disappeared down his throat just moments afterwards!

Call ducks are small, about the size of a mallard, and easy to keep in the back garden – they are usually kept as pets, and you can pick them up quite easily.

I bought them an old baby bath so they could go for a swim – I will hopefully have a pond soon – but oddly, it seems that they haven’t quite worked out what the bath is for yet – even tho’ I tossed some bits of bread in it.  I’m really looking forward to seeing them swim!

PS:

I’ve just remembered I wrote a more informative piece about call ducks for an A-Z blogging challenge I did in 2015 – If you’re interested please click HERE!

I also got a pair of very pretty bantams at the same time, but haven’t yet managed to get a decent photo of them.  Will have to give them a blog of their own when I do.

I”LL BE STARTING SELLING AGAIN IN THE NEXT WEEK OR SO –  

                   I’ll let you know what and where to find

          the listings when I put them up!

 

 

Branch Weaving – on a Stick!

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There are various ways of weaving with sticks, and you can get as creative as you like! This is just one of them, and if you have a look at Pinterest you can find all kinds weaving ideas.

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Now that I’ve got started blogging again, I thought I’d share with you a post I found on Interweave the other day, just cos it looks fun, and something that you might like to try with the kids during the summer holiday.

And thanks to everyone who has been reading my blog or referencing my Information Sheets over the last couple of years – its amazing how the stats have climbed even tho I wasn’t looking!

How to Weave on a Stick with Branch Weaving

See here for the original article by Jenna Fear.

Even the most inexperienced weaver (me) can learn branch weaving! The resources to do so are inexpensive and found almost anywhere. All you need to dive into branch weaving is a Y-shaped stick, yarn, and possibly a fork or darning needle. The fork and needle aren’t necessary but could make the process a bit easier.

All I needed to create my woven branch: several balls of yarn, a branch, a fork, and scissors.

I found out about branch weaving when looking at weaving projects on Pinterest. Then I looked around the web to see how to make my own. These are the steps I followed:

1. Find your branch!
Take a nice little hike through a woody area or even just your own back yard. Maybe ask your dog to help. Find a Y-shaped branch with a fork wide enough to fit some weaving between. I would recommend one that is 1 to 2 feet in length.

2. Gather your yarn.
I would suggest using a few different colors, but you can use any kind of yarn. I just pulled a few yarn balls from my stash that I hadn’t earmarked for any projects.

3. Warp your branch.
This was the hardest part for me to get right. First, tie your yarn onto the bottom leg of the Y. Next, wrap the yarn once around that leg, then carry the yarn across the open space to the top leg. Wrap the top leg twice, then carry yarn back to the bottom leg, where you’ll wrap once again. Keep going like this: always wrap once around the bottom leg and twice around the top leg. Leave spaces between each strand of yarn so you’ve got space to weave in weft. You will have a 2-sided warp, and you can choose to weave on one side or both.

I warped my final project with gray yarn that was hard to see against the stick, so here is a warp I did with lighter yarn.

4. Begin weaving!
Pick the yarn color you’d like for your first row and tie it onto the yarn strand at the open end of the warp. Weave your yarn through the warp in an over-under-over-under pattern until you’re happy with the look. To finish with that color, weave to the end of the warp and then cut it, leaving a 2″ tail. Secure the tail to an end strand of the warp with a knot—you’ll weave that tail into the piece at the end. For now, the knot will keep your weaving from unweaving. Use to fork to press the yarn together after it’s woven to avoid any open spaces.

This is the simple over-under pattern I used to weave onto the branch.

Repeat this process as you switch yarn colors. For more intricate designs, switch up the weaving pattern. I was happy with my simple rows of color and not yet experienced enough in weaving to get too fancy.

5. Weave in the tails
Weave in the tails between rows of yarn just as you wove the rest of the yarn in an over-under pattern. Make sure the end of the yarn goes over the warp so the very end of the tail is only visible from the back.

When you’re finished with your branch weaving, hang it on the wall or put it on a table for colorful décor. It’s sure to be a conversation starter! Plus, it’s a fun project for anyone interested in nature and creating with their hands! Try it with kids to get them into weaving.

 

HALLO AGAIN! – it’s been far too long!

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a garden in benign neglect_Fotor

A Garden in Benign Neglect

Its been a long time since I last posted on this blog – a lot longer than I intended it to be.  I thought I was just going to take a short break from online selling, but as you can see it didn’t work out that way, and a few more changes came along too!

I did want to have some time to rethink the way I was working, because it wasn’t suiting me to be bound to the computer and the deadlines for posting out endless packages.  Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed it, but I missed the personal element.

For many years, before the internet came along, I sold face to face, at craft markets and other venues, and I knew who my customers were, what they wanted, what they were making, any problems they had etc – because they would tell me! – and I would learn techniques from them too.

I was missing that part of the process, but of course, I found that there are less of these events around now, simply because its possible to sell online.  And sad to say I have found that I can no longer do the driving to venues and packing and unpacking the stock that I used to take for granted, because I have osteoarthritis in both knees and find it too tiring to do many of these events these days!

Of course I can reach at lot more people online, in other countries as well as my own, without moving from my desk.  So whilst I hope to keep my hand in with some face to face selling, I think its time to get back to selling online again!

I have tried introducing as much interaction as possible with this blog, trying to include that person to person, if not face to face, feel by encouraging people to leave comments, and with invitations for everyone to share their work here – but I have to say, that it hasn’t worked all that well, because there is an issue of trust that is missing when you don’t know and can’t meet the person you are dealing with.

However I will be keeping the “SHOW & TELL” archive section, and will always be happy to put up pictures of your own work, whatever kind of craft you work in, and wherever you are!  And you are welcome to contact me with any queries, and to tell me what you are making and what items you might need, and I will see if I can source them for you.

The other major change – 

is that I have moved to a really nice little stone cottage, with a large garden – see photo above – which needs a lot of sorting out, in the Lampeter area of West Wales.

I have not got much storage space here, and am still waiting to find some builders who will allow me to make the changes I need – such as a safe staircase, some storage space and a bit of renovation work.  (If you know anyone in this area, please get it touch – its taking far too long to find a builder that doesn’t give a start date earlier than 6 months time!)

This means that a lot of my stock is inaccessible at the moment, so when I get going again soon, I will not be featuring my full stock – but if you have been a customer of mine in the past and want to order something that I sold before, please ask and I will tell if you I still have it, and whether I can access it!

I will be feeling my way as to how much I can list, on ebay and etsy, and may try and ring the changes in the way I work too.  ie:  If you list it, you have to be prepared to send the item immediately, so I may have some weeks off here and there and take all the listings down.  However, if you do want something specific when they are not listed, you are welcome to contact me via email, or the “contact me” box on this blog.

There are also a few new ideas popping into my head at the moment, that need a bit more research, and when I have done that, I’ll try them out and see whether they work – for you and for me – smile!

So watch this space, and I’ll let you know quite soon when the listings are up again.

All the best

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Merry Xmas and/or Happy Holidays

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Wishing all my readers and customers and peaceful and happy period over the coming Xmas period.

I will be taking a complete break from selling for the next couple of weeks, and so have just taken down all my listings from both ebay and etsy, and hope I will not be inconveniencing anyone!

I will let you know when the listings go back up again!

 

all the best

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Tsethang serge Cloth Weaving Revival in Tibet

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Firstly, apologies for ‘dropping out’ of the habit of regular blogging in the last couple of months – I seem to have lost the momentum lately!  However, these two reports about a revival of weaving in Tibet caught my attention and I thought I’d share both of them with you.

What I find odd about both of them is that there is no clear picture of what Tsethang serge looks like, made up into a garment, and that altho this featured initiative seems to have begun in 2007, it is suddenly receiving a lot of attention for the money it could potentially make!

I came across the first article about this story of traditional weaving in Tibet on the China Daily Site this week and when I looked for more info, all the other articles seemed to be copies.  The only one with a little more to say is the second I have copied, from China Tibet Online.  Nevertheless, having never heard of this cloth before, I thought you might like to see what I found.  If anyone has any more information, please let me know.

I was going to copy the full articles, but have given up as the formatting didn’t work, so if you are interested in seeing more pictures etc, please click on the links – smile.

( Xinhua )Updated: 2015-11-28 14:27:03

Vanishing traditional weaving revived in Tibet

Tsethang serge, considered the finest of all Tibetan

traditional fabrics, has reemergeddecades

after disappearing from the market. [Photo/tibet.cn]

Intangible cultural heritage becomes poverty alleviation tool in Lhoka

2015-12-01 10:32:00
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 “Ze Tier, or Tsethang wool serge, is a handmade textile art based on Tibetan Pulu, in which the warp and woof are gradually changed from coarse to fine and the texture from thick to thin. It was very popular during the fifth Dalai Lama period and became a special tribute fabric Tibetan monks and prominent officials used to make clothes”, said Pasang. “Today, a tailor-made Tibetan costume made from ‘Ze Tier’ white cashmere sells for 13,000 yuan and a scarf for 1,300 yuan.” Through self-financing, in 2008 Pasang set up an ethnic serge hand-weaving cooperative in Nedong County, Lhoka Prefecture.

Through help from relevant government departments, he obsessively embarked on a path to rescue the development of “Ze Tier”. From the cycle of choosing, weaving and processing the fine wool, to passing on the weaving skills to younger students; from the 42 poor students initially enrolled to the 72 permanent staff farmer contractors across three counties, this thousand-year-old serge craft is once again bursting with life. Apart from inheriting and carrying forward an outstanding ethnic cultural heritage, this small grassroots cooperative is also taking on the burden of driving the local people out of poverty. Disabled, unemployed youth, housewives and poor households – there are many like Dawa Tashi at this cooperative. They have not only mastered a skill, but also have broken out of poverty. According to Pasang, since establishment of the cooperative, they have directly found employment for 136 people and indirectly found employment for 322 people in extended industries.

Make Your Own Silk Paper – The Ironing Method

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DSCF1868Its actually very easy to make paper out of silk, and you can get some beautiful results very quickly if you use the Ironing Method.

I tried out a few variations, and made a few mistakes, and I would suggest that you work on the trial and error method too, and work out what you prefer.

There are various uses for this handmade silk paper, and you can make is as thin or thick as you like.  Thick paper can be used for book covers and even writing paper, and can be painted or embellished and embroidered after its dry, and cut to any size you want.

The thin paper is great to add to any art textile design piece, and is especially dramatic as a window within a greetings card.   You can also make beads by rolling strips of the paper and varnishing them – so I hope this gives you some ideas for xmas gifts!

You will need:

IMG_2605silk cocoon strippings (unwashed and still containing the natural gum, that the silkworms used to make the cocoons, which is what makes this method possible)

and/or

 

throwsters wastesilk throwsters waste (again unwashed – this comes in white or various colours)

 

 

silk hankies

matawa silk hankies (these are unwrapped cocoons spread out into hemmed squares – see my post on silk worms)

other odds and ends to add in when you are making the paper, such as bits of silk carrier rods, cut silk fibres, pieces of silk lap, washed throwsters waste, glitter, small beads or anything else that takes your fancy!

an iron and board or table

non stick greaseproof baking paper – must be non stick otherwise you won’t be able to peel the paper off

small spray bottle filled with ordinary water

A4 pack with everything you need - £9.99

A4 pack with everything you need – £9.99

I have put together a pack with the basics for you…depending of what size you make, it should be enough for 5- 20 pieces.

You can either buy this direct – see here – or you can find the listings for it on etsy – here, and on ebay – here.A6 silk sample pack_Fotor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instructions:

DSCF1844Cut two pieces of the baking paper and lay one on your ironing surface, then pull out strands of the silk cocoon strippings and lay in a thin rough circle or square on top of the baking paper.

 

 

 

 

 

DSCF1847Then spray with water and place the other sheet of baking paper on top and iron the sandwich.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSCF1845Lift the top paper and add some more silk strippings, and repeat as above.  You can continue this process until you get the thickness you want – or you can …..

 

 

 

 

 

DSCF1866….. add one thin silk hankie on top of the ironed silk, then another thin layer of the silk strippings, spray and iron.  The silk hankie does not contain gum so you need to add the strippings to fuse them.

 

 

 

 

 

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The idea of using the silk hankie is to give a thin net that will allow you to keep some gaps in the finished paper.  Lift the piece up and see if you want to add some more silk strippings.  The paper will still be wet so work carefully.

 

 

 

 

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Once you are happy with the piece of paper you have made, pull it off the bottom baking sheet and allow to dry.  You will find you have made a very thin sheet of stable paper.  The edges of the hankie will need to be cut off, as they will probably not have been stabilised.

Please note, when experimenting, you need to balance the thicknesses on each side of the hankie, and if you decide to add another one, you can.  Silk hankies can be dyed before you use them and will add some lovely colours to your paper.

 

DSCF1854You don’t need to use the silk hankies – this is another version where I tried adding some white silk throwsters waste, a little washed dyed silk throwsters waste and some coloured glitter.

 

 

 

 

DSCF1860I wasn’t sure I liked it all that much, but its just to give you some ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is the finished dried piece.  Its a lot thicker than the first piece, and you need to fill all the gaps before you dry it!

 

If you would like to share your pictures of the paper you make, I will be happy to put them up on another post so that others can see them and get inspiration!  Please email them to me referencing “the ironing method’.  If you don’t have my email address, please use the CONTACT ME page.

 

To make things a bit clearer, you might like to watch this video I found on U-tube!

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