One of the things I love to do most is have people to visit. We live in a plain wee street in a lovely bungalow in a simple Ayrshire village. Our back garden is a real surprise, as we grow a lot of veg in a relatively small space and are actually WWOOF hosts too. (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms).
Simple living has always been a part of what we do and we decided years ago that living in a village was more sustainable and a better life than being in the hills (as we were previously). So we have a modern, well insulated bungalow, solar panels, a wood burning stove, grow veg and live in a place with three buses an hour, people around during the day and hills in every direction. Yes, we still have the hills. You can set off and walk in any direction from here.
So it makes perfect sense to have ‘cosy courses’ in our living room. People love them and the numbers are smaller – often 3 or 4 people but certainly no more than 5, depending on what it is. Hubby makes soup for us and we eat around the kitchen table.
The most recent course was a ‘flexible’ two day spinning course. Beginners on day one and improvers on day two. You could book for one or both days, and all levels except complete beginners can come to day two.
Local accommodation is available and we also have a spare room where you are welcome to stay. You can have a wee peek at our house here we are air bnb hosts.
Oh and we also do one to one tuition, anything from half a day to two days and stay the night! Your very own micro retreat chez nous, in other words.
Finally!Having handspun yarn for a skirt, I was thrilled with the handwoven, simple, above-the-knee skirt.The yarn was spun from Hebridean fleece carded with all the leftover coloured bits from the workshops I teach.There was not enough of the yarn left to crochet a jacket to go with it.So having raked through my stash, I combined that yarn with some grey handspun alpaca and a commercially carded and handspun black Shetland/alpaca mix.That yarn had been hanging about for a while, so it was a good plan.
Making the Jacket
The jacket was created by crocheted a chain long enough to go round my hips.Then working UK double crochet (that’s single crochet if you are in the USA) one row of each colour in turn.At the armholes I split it and crocheted the fronts then the back.Joined the shoulders and went back to crochet the sleeves in the round , directly onto the garment.
A tip for crocheted the sleeves of a garment without a pattern.
To make sure I got the two sleeves the same, not only did I write down what I did, but also crocheted the shaped part of one sleeve, then the shaped part of the other before finishing the bottom, straight section.Just in case I put the project down for a while and forgot what to do.It is of course possible to compare the two, but easy to end up one stitch out and end up with them different sizes.
The jacket was finished by crocheting a wide band up the front in the grey alpaca.Button holes were made a couple of rows from the finished edge. And then, a row of double crochet and one of crab stitch up the front, around the bottom edge and the sleeves.
The buttons were made from some of the left over skirt fabric, and bring the outfit together nicely.Button blanks 15mm size were bought on Amazon but you can do this round any button with a stem.
Cut a circle somewhat wider than the button.If using handwoven fabric, you may want to add an iron on backing to the fabric. The one I used is a cotton one. Stitch a running thread round the edge of the circle, then gather the stitching firmly around the stem of the button.
UPdate: It took several months to complete the Knit 1 Bike 1 artwork after Janet returned home from her ten week bicycle and art tour. The first exhibition took place Oct – Dec 2016 at the textile tower house hawick. Here is the completed crocheted Glenfinnan Viaduct, with the train on top. Whilst transferring to the new blog, this post was updated to include photos of the construction and development of the viaduct. Getting it to stand up independently was the hardest thing and Janet’s hubby Lee was technical advisor and engineer, finally sorting it with medium tensile fence wire!
On the date this post was first written, the Sunday Post newspaper came to photograph the crocheted Glenfinnan Viaduct. Here’s what she wrote at the time – it seems weird now that so much has happened since, all the art work is pretty much completed and the first exhibition has taken place. Here is the Viaduct in the exhibition.
It was not finished by a long shot but with a big push this week, all three sections and 21 arches will now stand up. Have stuffed it, stiffened the legs with Paverpol and used alloy rods threaded through to get the curve. The curve will be more accurate once it is attached to the base. It had to be in three sections that velcro together due to it being 12ft/4m long. Now to crochet the base, some mountains and of course a train for the top.
Can you spot the knitted Brompton bicycle like the one I cycled round Scotland on in the photo below?
Janet posing at the end of our street(!) with several onlookers whilst the Sunday Post took her photo.
The Viaduct was actually held up by tent pegs at the rear, although it did stand up when it was finally completed. it was months of work.
Crocheting the train at the pub in a campsite. It was so easy to do compared to the viaduct itself.
The base and arches drying in the garden.
The first few arches. They were now 3 dimensional but I still had no idea whether the plan would work out.