What do you get if cross alpaca wool and blackberries?

Blackberry yarn of course!

Hello everyone,

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and that the beginning of the week is going well for you. We had a lovely relaxing weekend as I hoped we would. Plenty of knitting, film watching, reading, a few walks when the weather permitted and some foraging. Here in the UK we are on the border between summer and autumn and that means one thing… blackberries and lots of them! Bushes dripping with blackberries line the edges of fields and I couldn’t be happier. This time every year we collect loads of them, we turn them into jam, crumble, pie and cakes. Delicious! This year though we did something a little different. Surely everyone who has ever picked a blackberry has noticed that it leaves your fingers stained pink? Well I decided to try and capture that on some yarn. So how did we do it?

Well first up we collected a mixing bowl full of blackberries, probably about 400g. There was no quality control here. They all went in… over ripe, under ripe, somewhere in the middle, a few sticks and leaves for good measure. Once we got home, I dumped them into a big pot and mashed them up a little bit with a potato masher, I then added about 200 ml of water. I then put them onto simmer for about an hour. Whilst this was happening I soaked my yarn (a skein of baby alpaca 4ply) with water and some citric acid. I then let the blackberry mix cool completely and then yarn to soak properly. After a few hours I strained the blackberry mix ¬†and then combined my yarn and the blackberries. I then added about 3 teaspoons of citric acid and simmered for about 1 hour. I then turned off the heat and left it overnight (the hardest part).

 

 

The next day I took my yarn out, gave it a good rinse and then hung it up on the line. It is a bit paler than I thought, but I am really happy with how it came out. It is not my usual colour, but I still love it. I hope to knit this into a shawl and every time I wear it I will think of blackberry picking and look forward to the next autumn! Maybe next year I will try sloes or elderberries?

The colours are accurate… it faded a fair amount whilst drying!

Happy crafting.

 

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Autumn bounty

Evening all,

Well there is no denying it…. autumn is definitely making an appearance! We can’t ignore it any longer, the days are shortening, there is a definite coolness in the air and the vegetation surrounding us is beginning to show the first signs. I always like the changing of the seasons as each brings something different. Winter brings the possibility of snow and clear frosty mornings. Spring brings new beginnings, baby birds nesting in our boxes and lambs in the field. Summer brings the potential of warm sunny days, beautiful flowers everywhere and light days. Autumn, well to me, autumn means a bountiful harvest from both the garden and the countryside and the beautiful foliage. I love all the seasons, but right now, I am loving autumn! I thought today I would share some photos of the bounty that autumn has provided so far.

photo 1

First up we have some wild plums and blackberries. We are lucky enough to have loads of wild plum trees around us and we have definitely made the most of them. I have a few kilos frozen in the freezer waiting to be made into spiced plum chutney. We have made crumble and plum compote. We have also harvested copious amounts of blackberries from the surrounding countryside and with these I have made blackberry jam and more crumble.

photo 2

Next up on our walks around the countryside we have found some wild apple trees. We have found some bramley apples and some normal apples. We have picked up a few windfalls to turn into an apple pie or some other tasty desert. Lathered with custard they are going to make a perfect pudding for a cold damp evening.

photo 3

Finally we have some lovely fresh veg from the garden (minus the apples – they are the windfall I mentioned above). I have picked the last of the beetroot, a few chillies (green and purple – our plants are finally flourishing after a slow start), some tomatoes which have fallen off (I am tempting these to ripen on a sunny windowsill), a butternut squash and a balmoral squash. Looking forward to turning these squash into something tasty this weekend.

So there you have it, some photos of the bounty autumn is currently providing us. I will be back with some knitting soon. Now the nights are getting darker and the temperature is cooling I have knitting happening left, right and centre!