Sunday, June 30, 2024

 So, for the past few weeks I've been doing 2 days a week in a wool shop belonging to 2 friends. For someone who's job ambition has always been "Medieval Hermit" I'm surprised to find I'm actually quite enjoying dealing with people.

Favourites this week had to be the re-enactor couple looking for a specific shade of yellow, with whom I had a loooong conversation about natural dyeing, Murex and medieval sumptuary laws but even they weren't quite as entertaining as the lively Australian woman who bounced into the shop an announced:

"Your dolphins! They're huge!!!"

Small Sidekick and I looked a little baffled

"No, I don't mean dolphins! What do I mean???"

[sketches out a vague potato shape]

"Seals?" suggests Small

"Nooooooo! SEAGULLS! That's what I mean!!! They're enormous!"

We sent her off, quietly terrified of herring gulls that can recognise fast food packaging labels, and Greater Black-Backed that steal chihuahuas.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Continued survival

 I am alive!

Unfortunately a chronic health problem suddenly went acute, and I had to spend a little time being put back together. Bit of a major operation but all is (cross fingers!) now well x

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Lavender's Blue...

If I'm not dyeing, I'm weaving. If I'm not weaving, I'm playing with clay. If I'm not playing with clay, I'm playing with plants...20 years ago I had a lavender nursery. I sold other herbs too, but lavenders where my first love. 16 years ago, my house and land flooded, catastrophically. The house was ok, but the plants ended up somewhere at the bottom of the River Trent. I was pregnant at the time, and the subsequent years were busy - my focus was on parenting and using the land to grow enough food to feed us.

My cunning plan, on moving to North Wales, with a teen who no longer needs the same levels of supervision, was that I would start to gather lavender plants again, particularly the tender, species ones. With half a greenhouse (the frame is up, we haven't got as far as the glass yet) I started saving so I could treat myself in the spring.
The best laid plans...
The lavender nursery who's pages I stalked, who had a wonderful array of the plants I wanted, suddenly announced their immediate retirement and closure of the nursery. The only plants available where those still on the website. No, I've nothing against the hybrid lavenders - some of them are amazing plants - but they were not what I was wanting
I took a deep breath, tamped down my dislike of emailing complete strangers and - frankly - begged!
It was worth it. Not only did I get to talk with 2 of the most lovely people I know of, but look what just arrived!
Introducing Lavandula buchii, L. minutolii and L. rotundifolia.
The tiny is L pinnata who I found as an orphaned scrap on a garden centre floor. No parents were in sight, so I brought it home to be cared for...

Finally, I have my lavenders back!

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Linen Buttons

 Some of my large collection of linen buttons. I was lucky enough to find a big bag of these for sale some years ago, and I've been quietly dyeing my way through them ever since. 

Originally for your pillow cases, long johns and other things that needed laundering regularly, these were flat enough to go through your mangle without damage. Of course, buttons get lost, so cards of mixed sizes were sold, as well as smaller cards of single sizes - I mean, no point buying a card of replacements for pillow case sizes, when it's only the Mr's long johns that keep losing buttons, is there?

Moving the shop to folksy is taking quite a while, not least because I'm stock-checking as I go, and in stock-checking these I found quite a lot of gaps!

So, the project for next week: soak, scour (for they are old and dusty), mordant, dry, dye, dry again and try to find enough light to photograph them in all their pretty colours!

And sell them, for people to make things like this:

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

New things on ebay

The clearout at continues, with 4 lovely lots of yarn being listed on Saturday (14th) 

Pure wool laceweight bundle, hand-dyed sock yarn, a large cone of Bramwell's "Dawn" and a merino/silk blend.


Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Where to find me, and why I've moved

 You may have seen pieces in the news about etsy putting a hold on some seller's money. I am one of those who was affected, as far as I can tell because the Royal Mail was hacked. Back in February the Royal Mail was hit with a ransomware attack. While this was being sorted out, all international parcels were put on hold. It was impossible to print postage, and no post office would accept the mail. Etsy knew this. Printing postage for international orders was disabled.

Of course, I had a number of international orders. I explained to each customer what was happening, offered them the opportunity to cancel. All of them wanted to wait it out. Every few days I updated them as to what was happening and the moment that international postage was again possible, I was printing labels and packing envelopes. This, it seems, was not enough for etsy, and after 17 years and 22,000 sales I was deemed a risky seller and every penny of my income was put on hold for 6 weeks.
The Mr's business was killed off by international lockdown requirements. Mine was suffering somewhat from the effects of Brexit. 6 weeks without any income was.... not fun.... Nor was the fact that it was not possible to talk to etsy staff about the hold as the site states clearly that if there is a hold, staff CAN NOT discuss it.
So, a brief guide as to what is where:
The buttons and haberdashery from Overspill have moved to ebay
The naturally dyed threads and fibres have moved to where they will be joined by knitted, stitched and woven handmade items from HafodLas.
The contents of BlackEarthBeads are being split: my hands are such that small buttons and beads are getting very difficult to produce, and that's not a situation that's ever going to improve. Small pieces will go to the ebay shop until I've run out of the blanks that I have already made, larger buttons, shawl pins etc will join the fibres at
The vintage shop, EnglishGentleman, will be closing completely and everything there will be auctioned through Occasional Purl on ebay is also where a lot of ends-of-lines will end up - the amount of oddments I've found while stocktaking is truly amazing / terrifying depending on your current mindset!
So, please bear with me while everything gets moved around. I have around 2000 listings spread across various shops, and they all need a new home. If there is anything you are looking for, PLEASE ask. It probably still exists, it just might not be where you expect it right now!


 just to see if this works?

 So, for the past few weeks I've been doing 2 days a week in a wool shop belonging to 2 friends. For someone who's job ambition has ...