Monday 20 February 2023

Linoprinting Part Two


I wrote a few weeks ago about the linoprinting course that my son and and I were doing, but forgot to show you our final prints. I had decided to try to make Christmas cards, so sorry family, but hopefully by next year you may have forgotten. I was quite pleased with my single colour prints, but then the teacher showed me how to cut a piece out of the lino and use it as a stamp for the red breast.

My son was more ambitious and did his prints with two sheets of lino, and several layers of colour by masking out certain sections. His prints are of Hornet, who is a character from Hollow Knight.

On the last week I thought I would have a go at doing a two sheet print, which although I think the concept was not too bad, I was not careful enough linking up my two prints. As you can see below. But now the course is over I have ordered a roller and some paint, and am going to try again at home.


Tuesday 14 February 2023

Moths - The Good and the Bad

Moths in a woollen mill are a very bad thing. I have been told that they can very quickly reduce fleece or wool to a pile of dust, and so the wool stocks are kept sealed in what are essentially like large plastic sandwich bags, and I think every so often the whole building is fumigated. 

But moths at home are not much better, and I recently found that the one bear I had kept from my Teddy Bear pattern had been nibbled by moths. Poor Ted had to spend a while in my freezer, as this is meant to kill the moths, and any grubs or eggs too. (I probably should have warned my daughter that I had put him there!) I decided that darning was the best solution, and as my darning skills are not great, it was best to just going with making the darns very obvious. On his bottom he has two tradional woven darns, and the arms are my attempt at swiss darning. Even his little scarf had a hole. 

The house has now been scattered with cedar balls, as I don't really like the smell of traditional moth balls, and I have lavender hanging in the airing cupboard. But I don't want to put off all the moths.

Just to show that moths are not all bad, here are a few pictures of moths I have taken in my house in the last year. I think, but am not totally sure, that these bigger moths are not the main culprits for eating wool, so all of them were carefully put out doors. The first one is an elephant hawk moth, next a drinker, the yellow one a brimstone, the one on the green leaf might be a buff ermine, I think the last one is another type of ermine moth. Happy to be corrected on any of this! 


Friday 10 February 2023


Bam-boozle is the new range of wool at Blacker Yarns. (The name kind of makes me laugh, as I just keep imagining Joey from Friends saying let's play Bam-boozle - such a cool name! Please use your wicked wango card if making a purchase. My daughter has just told me that this will make no sense, even to people like us who have Friends Trivial Pursuit, so click on Friends if you want an explanation.) 

Initially this is available in three colours, but the range may be extended if it is received well. Bamboo is a great substitute fibre to use in sock knitting, as it is antibacterial, hypoallergenic, thermo-regulating and absorbs moisture. Ideal for socks, lacey knits or light weight sweaters.


For the photographs I started off with the idea of finding some growing bamboo as a background, but this proved very difficult. We visited my daughter in Brighton, and I thought I had a perfect backdrop, as there was some lovely bamboo in the local park. My family all seemed to disappear, as I climbed a little fence to get near the bamboo, but somehow it was impossible to place the wool anywhere except near the base of the plant, where it was too dark, and not very bamboo looking. 

So plan B was once back home to use some of my bamboo beanpoles. Much easier to control the lighting, and I was really pleased with the final shots.

Taking these shots for the website and social media is my favourite part of my new job. It is really fun thinking of a way to highlight the lovely wools in an appropriate way, and I still get a bit of a thrill when I see my photos used. 

There are already two lovely kits available on the website, one for socks Fish Trail Socks and the other for a lacy scarf, Olsok Scarf, using this wool.


Wednesday 1 February 2023

Romney Guernsey Wool


A few photos of the new Romney Guernsey range of wool at Blacker Yarns, where I work. Sadly they didn't send me to the Channel Islands, but the sea at Bude was a good place to get the perfect beach and fisherman feeling. 

The colours of this range are great, and I particularly like the really dark navy, which seems very authentic. As a teenager I knitted myself two guernseys, one navy and one cream, which were part of my wardrobe for many years.

Blacker Yarns have some lovely guernsey patterns: The Anchor Gansey and The Traditional Guernsey, or if you want to buy the wool and pattern together you can explore the kit page. The Crossing Cable Sweater kit is brand new today, modelled by one of my colleague in the mill.