Friday 30 July 2010

How to Wash a Sheep's Fleece

I was idly looking through the felting section on ebay last week, when I came across a whole sheep's fleece for sale. I didn't know you could buy them so easily and for only £5! This fleece came fresh from the sheep, unwashed and sent to me in a wine box and with a pretty label.
I looked up how to clean a fleece-some sites were more helpful than others-the two best ones I found are at the bottom of this post.
Here is my pictorial version of how to clean a fleece. It was an enjoyable process-I felt quite rural sitting on my back steps, picking twigs, grass and other less pleasant substances from around the edge of the fleece. This part is called skirting.

You can see the shape of the sheep!

Use old pillowcases as you might not want to use them again after this.

The very hot water and the detergent (I used fairy liquid) is to dissolve the lanolin in the wool. Apparently the purpose of the lanolin is to draw dirt away from the sheep's skin. You should not let the water cool, as this causes the lanolin to become sticky and much harder to get rid of. The other piece of advice related to the lanolin, is that it hardens over time, becoming more difficult to remove-so a fleece should be washed as soon as possible.

The process is this:

1. Lay bags on top of water with a generous amount of detergent. You can gently push them down, but do not agitate as this will cause the wool to felt.

2. Soak for about 20 minutes-not letting the water cool much.

Lift carefully and drain by holding up. Place in another container near the bath. Change the bath water. Hot again.

3. Do this for as many times as seems necessary. It took my fleece about 4 washes and 2 rinses for the water to be clear.

Cassie liked the smell-this is when they are quite clean!
When you have done your final rinse, it is advised that you hang up the cases to drain. Then you can, if you have the patience, get handfuls of wool and spin them in a salad spinner. I don't have the patience, so instead I held them up to drain most of the water, then very gently rolled and squeezed them to get more water out.

It can take a few days for it to dry properly. Ideally it should dry flat. Mine is mainly dry but the thicker parts are still damp.

Haiku My Heart

I found out today
That the pavement is slightly
Closer than you think

This little paper torso that I saw within minutes of leaving the house should have been a warning. Two minutes later I joined him on the ground! I tripped over nothing-and in front of two builders to make it even more embarassing! And it hurt! They did ask me if I was ok, but there was no gallant rushing to help me up! I fell over in the carpark in Rye yesterday too. When I was speaking to my Mum today, I was telling her about it and superstitiously wondering when the third fall would be. She told me to break a match-which was my Nan's advice. I must do it!

I got the bus to Woolwich to photograph the New Wine Church. The building is great-a former Odeon cinema, built in 1937 in art deco style. It had neon tubing on originally-can you imagine?! The church took it over in 2001-it had finally closed as a cinema in 1999. It has a huge nativity scene at Christmas which I will take a picture of this year. Usually I am driving past here so cannot take any photos. It is one of my favourite buildings in the area. I then walked home-40 minutes!

I have just been reading about the new wine church. One of their main beliefs is that everyone has a pre-ordained destiny, and finds fulfillment when they begin to walk in it. I quite like that idea-even if I don't believe that. I am pleased that this lovely building has got a worthwhile use.

Please visit Rebecca for more haikus. I must be off to tend to something quite strange which I will tell you about tomorrow! I am going to do a tutorial in fact, something I hardly ever feel qualified to do!

Thursday 29 July 2010

Today was the day for Cassie. She is fine after the operation, but still so woozy and it is 10.30 at night now. The anaesthetic must be so strong. I collected her at 6.00 and she could hardly stand when she got out of the basket, and then when she started moving around, she left a little puddle each time she sat down! I put my (her) favourite dressing gown on the floor, and she spent some time there. She has eaten a little food and is now wandering round restlessly. She has just had a growl at Tiger, who has been really good and just sniffed her a bit. I am keeping an eye on her! This is a lovely shop that I passed this morning on the way to the vets. I had seen it before, but never realised it is a little cafe as well as a shop. It is so sweet inside, and is run by a French mother and daughter-at least I got the impression they were mother and daughter. As I was buying a beautiful pepper plant, they were talking to each other in French. I was transported! This was after dropping Cassie off of course-I didn't make her wait around while I shopped.
I love this lady's dress-which I noticed later, not at the time.
The cafe cat-looks just like Lily.

Because I had to change Cassie's appointment, today was an outing day with my friend Chinmoyee. We went to Rye, for a potter around the shops-an anti-de-cluttering trip! I did buy a few things, but they are relatively small and should come in most handy for a few ideas I have!

The last shop we went in had a great selection of big furniture-all really well displayed. I loved this lady but the phone picture I took was really blurry-in black and white it looks a bit nightmarish-a junk addict's nightmare maybe!

A lovely letter box-so French looking.

Phones from my phone.

These hair salon tables and red vinyl chairs are so lovely!

I loved this grouping of dressmakers forms. They look as if they are in conversation.
Tomorrow I start on the garden! Wish me luck, it is an absolute jungle!

Hair! And Book!

I love my hair so much that I am actually going to show you-anyone who is looking that is! Obviously it looks slightly less good today without the professional blow dry, but I still love it! I do feel a bit silly taking photos of myself, on my own and smiling, but I was trying to look less teachery than in the other pictures below.

The other exciting news is that Kat's book arrived. I know other people who have received their copies have posted pictures of themselves with the book so I thought I would join in the fun! I am enjoying it so far. Here are a couple of my favourites. The first, 'Thoughts While Lying in Bed on A Saturday Morning' really struck a chord-it could have been written by me-the content I mean-not the poetic skill-I leave that to Kat! The second, 'Hamlet Horror', just sums up perfectly the british detective genre-the tv kind-Morse and the man in Midsomer Murders spring to mind! I can't show you that one though, as it is not on Kat's blog-so you will just have to buy the book! Here is Kat's blog for 'Shadow Stalking'-visit to find out more! Well done Kat!

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Promises to myself

Promises that I make to myself are the hardest to keep I find. It is so easy to just give up and not do the thing I have been meaning to do for so long. I gave up smoking at least six times before the final time three years ago. Now it is time to sort out the other things that are bugging me-namely eating badly a lot of the time, and not exercising, with the inevitable result of feeling fat and tired. I have put on about three stone in the last four years I think-the combination of stopping smoking and starting to drive are what did it I think. Hence the promise to go for a walk daily and eat more healthily. I have been reading 'You Are What You Eat' tonight, and I have bought a blender so I can have smoothies. I have eaten muesli, apples, bananas, salad , raspberries and blackberries over the last two days. I am writing it all down here so I can look back and be inspired to carry on. I am going to get my hair cut tomorrow-long overdue-I lost touch with the lovely Bianca, so am going to try a salon with such a great name that I can't resist. The Curious Comb. I hope they can make my hair magically much better than it is today! Here is Snowball-at least I think that is the name of this cat. I met it on this road a few years back, and that is what a helpful passer by told me. Snowball looked a bit perturbed when I stroked him, then moved round the bins for a photo, then back again for more stroking. He was just peacefully sleeping before that!
I was trying to think of some kind of theme to my walks as I can't always go to the shops. I thought of walking to and photographing the various churches in the area. This is one of my favourite ones, St George's in Kirkside road. It is my favourite as it has regular, and always interesting, jumble sales. The kind with home made cakes and jams, knitted goods for pennies, and lots and lots of great old books. I missed the last one-kind of on purpose as I did not want to buy more suff, and once I get in there I can't resist. This church was built in 1890-92, I found out tonight here. It had its roof lifted and dropped four inches out of place by a bomb in the second world war. I didn't know any of these things till tonight, so I shall be learning about the local area on my walks!

This is a recently constructed Methodist church which I have posted about before-as they had the cross lying around wrapped in plastic for ages before it finally went up. I love the bird detail on this window, which I have not noticed before.

Incidental cat photos. I like the multiple occupancy demonstrated here.

Cassie has been very helpful in my work today.

Monday 26 July 2010


We went to my brother's yesterday for a barbecue, and to look at how he is progressing on his house. He has mainly been clearing the inside, but not a lot else. He has done lots of work outside-clearing and then building a 'shed'-which is bigger than our bedroom! It uses the space well-and is a geat workshop and storage space. There is this lovely view from the front of the building. There were lots of swallows around yesterday. We played scrabble and had delicious food. He cooked the onions on top of the chiminea!

I have been really good today and done most of the work I had to do. I much prefer to get it out of the way now, as my brain takes some time to get back into work mode at the end of the summer, and at the moment it is still in it!
Cassie didn't go to the vets in the end as I forgot about the not eating before an operation rule, so she is re-booked for Thursday!

Sunday 25 July 2010

Cassie Again

Sweetly sleeping.

Waiting for food.
Malteaser thief, caught red-pawed!

Tomorrow Cassie has got to go to the vets to be neutered and chipped. I hate taking them to have things done to them, but it is for the best. She will be able to go out again in about a week, so that should make her happy. She seems to have accepted the indoors lifestyle though.
I am going to go to work and do another load of stuff-ready for next year while she is at the vets, and then I can forget it until September 1st!

Saturday 24 July 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday and Felty Doodling

Last Sunday in North London. Archway tube has this building towering above it. The Queens is a pub in Crouch End, where we were last Sunday, visiting Clare and Gary. While Clare and I made our books, Andy and Gary visited second hand record shops and pubs. We met in The Queens for a drink and food before returning to South London.

Today while cleaning, I saw the shadow below, and, as I snapped it, also took this one of my hands. Both photos make me think of some kind of creature.

Felty doodlings as we watched the very last part of Lord of the Rings. Don't felt whilst looking at the tv would be good advice. I stabbed myself very spectacularly while doing that!
For more shadows from around the world, visit HeyHarriet here!

Friday 23 July 2010


Last day loveliness! Completed lists and beautiful cakes. Bear, wine, flowers, chocolate, a visit from a pupil from years ago and his two brothers, and his very sweet Mum who came to say thanks. Curry, Lord of the Rings DVDs (Andy's choice but I quite like them) and a bit of light internet use, then bed. I would like to sleep for a month, but will be up early doing boring housework. I think.
I have recently found both of these blogs, and I think they are a fun contrast.
The first, A Collection a Day, is interesting in the content of the collections and makes me feel good about how many things I have. (In that I am not alone!)
The second, Unclutterer, is full of great advice, and is going to help me in my de-cluttering aims over the holiday. I read a thing about getting rid of one thing a day on this blog recently and have a growing charity shop pile before I have even officially started!
Also, visit Rebecca here for lovely Haikus. The haiku spirit has left me this week but I am looking forward to visiting the others!