To bee or not to bee…

It’s 11am on a Sunday morning and I’m dressed in full white…overalls, gloves, face mask, hat…I have even taped every pocket and seam with masking tape. There is  no earthly way for any small flying insect to get inside. And there were a hell of a lot of them trying.

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My uncle is an aparist. He raises bees.

Of a spring time, after the cold, partial hibernation of winter, the bees become more active. The hives grow and eventually, they outgrow their home and are forced to relocate.

A group of bees (led by a queen), swarm out of the hive. It is a truly impressive sight. There are thousands of bees in the sky and if you get caught in the thick of the swarm, the air seems to grow dark

When the bees are swarming they are very docile. They are loaded up with honey and if you dont make any sudden movements you shouldn’t be stung.

Apparently…and I’m not sure if this is true, but aparists wear white because bees don’t like dark, hairy things. Probably a link back to their wild bee ancestors who were attacked by bears.
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When opening a hive you can also use a smoker to keep the bees calm. It makes the bees think that there is a bush fire coming and I think they focus on that instead of you. It was my job to operate the smoker. 🙂

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So we made up a new box for the swarm to build a nest in…and then went to find them.

They had taken up tempary residence on the branch of a nearby sapling.

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It was amazing to see. The bees find a safe spot (like a tree branch), the queen will land…and then the rest of the bees will land around her. Within maybe 10-15 minutes, all the bees had made a protective circle around the queen and there were no more bees in the air.

To get the bees from the branch to the box.

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Cut the branch with pruning shears. Don’t bump it.
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Give it a good tap on the top of the box. Bes fall into the box.

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Shut lid before too many bees fly out. Simples 😉

And that was my Sunday.

xxx

My First Spools of Yarn

Firstly, its official! J’adore my new/old spinning wheel.

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Spinning wheels are something that I have always associated with fairy tales (sleeping beauty, rumplestiltskin), so they have a certain sense of fantasy and mystery surrounding them. Its certainly not something that I would have considered doing a few months ago.

But now that I have started, I am enjoying it so much. It is so relaxing…sitting, listening the chorus of the songbirds when i spin in the early morning…watching the colours of the fibres running through your fingers, spreading onto the spool.

This is what I have done so far.

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Spun silk roving

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Spun border-leister fleece

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Spun alpaca fleece (this stuff is so soft)

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Dyed merino wool, prepared using a flicker brush.

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Spun merino wool, using dyed fibre in last photo

Its not alot, but I’m really pleased with them. Now I just need to finish off a bit more so I can start plying.

I’ve tried the najavo plying method, which wasn’t too hard and I really like how it keeps the colours together. I’ll post some pictures of that soon too.

Until the next time… adieu
Kris xxx

Beach Walking

WARNING: post non-yarn related.

There aren’t many things in life better than walking along a secluded beach. You can enjoy the scenery, take the opportunity for quiet reflection, sing out loud without anyone to hear and think you are a total moron 🙂 or a combination of all three.

I went down to the beach this afternoon to walk on the sand as part of my ankle rehabilitation exercises, and I took a few photos.

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Spinning Clubs and Spinning Wheels

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to check out a local spinners and weavers group that meet every fortnight.

The first week I turned up was their AGM (I have impeccable timing). 🙂 I went again last Saturday, and it was a great afternoon.

There were about twenty women (and one fella), mountains of scrumptious food for afternoon tea and everyone was so accommodating and helpful. Being a beginner it was great to be able to actually ask questions rather than just watch videos on the web.

The best part is that I was able to purchase an old spinning wheel for $50 and I also got a couple of bags of merino and alpaca wool.

The spinning wheel seems to be in great condition, and im having such a great time using it. So far ive tried border-leister, merino, alpaca and silk.

I’ll have more posts soon with pictures of my attempts at spinning and dyeing.

Blog Awards

Sorry about the dalay between posts, i’ve been super busy with work and life.
But I have also been doing quite a bit of spinning and dyeing wool, so I’ll have a few more posts over the next few days.

In the time that I have been absent, I was nominated for one lovely blog award…now being quite new to the blog world i’m not entirely sure what that means or how these things work, but I figure I’ll just follow the instructions.

Here goes..

This award comes with rules.

1.  Thank the person(s) who nominated you
2.  Post the award graphic.
3.  List seven random facts about yourself.
4.  Nominate seven other blogs & let them know that they have been nominated.

Firstly, thanks to Cinn (now Mistine) who nominated me.

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Random Facts:
1. I often wear odd socks.
2. I love to read.
3. (I have 4 bookcases full of books).
4.I  can  weld.
5. I can ride a motorbike.
6. I love the ocean.
7. I enjoy misty early mornings.

Seven Nominated Blogs
1. littleblackdogsa | we blog here
2. barn talk
3. knitting to stay sane
4. for the knit of it
5. empress fibres
6. curls and q | a journey of creativity
7. colour cottage | yarnie, picturemaker, horsenut

It’s almost midnight…way past my bedtime 🙂 … goodnight.

Pretty Socks

Recently, my aunt has gone on a sock knitting binge. Skeins and skeins of sock yarn, books and patterns everywhere and so many beautiful pairs of socks that I want to wear them all at the same time (but I might get a few odd looks walking down the street with 3 socks on each foot).

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Confession time, ive never knitted a pair of socks before (I don’t wear shoes very often, so I didn’t see a point…) but the patterns are just so gorgeous that I think I’m going to have to give it a go.

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The pink and purple yarn is alpaca from Peru and the teal is handpainted yarn from Wostershire England.

The pink and purple yarn is alpaca from Peru and the teal is handpainted yarn from Wostershire England.