Monday 29 August 2022

Slow Way - Petmid


 I'm going to start calling these adventures, after all I was doing something I've not done before and it was a challenge, all parts of a good adventure I think.

I'd been planning to run another Slow Way before this, but things/life got in the way.  No bad thing as the heat seems to have gone, although it was still warm in the sun, it was pleasant with a breeze.


As before 'im outdoors dropped me off in Petersfield and I jogged down the high street looking at all the stalls being set up for the last day of their summer festival.

The first bit went well.  I've run it several times now and feel more confident, although some of the route looked very different as the crops that had been growing have now been harvested.  I found the turn to start the new route without any problems and enjoyed the footpath through the trees.

But once I popped out on to the road, I didn't see another footpath until the last couple of miles.  Once again I manage to go wrong adding a mile to my route.  And when I finally righted myself and got to my next major turning I found I was only in Rogate and really hadn't gone that far yet.  It was a major motivational blow. 

But I kept going and got to see some bits of the county that I've not seen before.


When I finally got back onto the trails I also slowed down quite a lot.  The first part was very sandy bridalway, more like trying to run on a beach!  But then I joined the Serpent Trail, which was pretty good under foot and resonably well marked out, until I got to the last mile or so into Midhurst, where the footpaths became a free-for-all and I just made it up till I found the main road.


The best thing was finding a newsagents which was open and buying a lolly!


This was a good run, but it was hard.  I'd been hoping for more trail and it ended up being about 2 miles more than expected, which is quite a lot when you thought it was going to be 11 miles.


I'm not sure I'll feel the need to run to Midhurst again, but it's nice to ticked it off the list.

Saturday 27 August 2022

Nettle Fibre Workshop: From Sting to Spin

Drying my ribbons
 Last December I came across a local nettle fibre workshop online.  Something in my heart demanded I attend so I was very disappointed to find it was already fully booked.  I put my name on the waiting list and was rewarded earlier this year by them adding another date to the list.  Hooray!

So today I went to the Weald & Downland Museum to find out how to make nettles into a usable fibre.

Cordage from my ribbons

The lovely Brigitte and Martin welcomed us and we were soon heading out into the beautiful grounds of the museum to find outselves some nettles.  We wanted a stalk that was as tall as me and about 1cm wide at the base.  We stripped the leaves and seed and left them to go back into the soil, and rubbed the stalk (wearing gloves) to take off the stinging hairs.

Cordage from prepared ribbons
Back to base and Brigitte showed us how to split the stem open and to remove the woody inner leaving us with the fiber we would be using.  We ended up with green 'ribbons' which we allowed to dry while we had a break.

She then showed us how to split the ribbon into lengths to then twist to make cordage.  We made 2 ply, but it can be twisted together to make anything up to 16 ply!  Depending on what you want to do with it.

Getting ready to make fibre


I was very impressed with this.  It was even better then we used some of her dried and properly processed fibre.  I would have been happy if we had stopped at this point.  But there was more.

After lunch she showed us how to make fibres to spin with.  You have to process the nettle stalk a little more to do this (a 10 day or so process) so she had come prepared with ready to work stems for us.


Once again we stripped away the woody inner before using a blunt knife to remove the bast and chaff.  This is a slow process, but as we worked we ended up with curles of what looked like hair.  It was soft and golden and once combed could be spun.

As we worked we collected the soft fibres that came away and after tea and cake Brigitte then showed us how to comb and spin them.

Nettle fibre
I found this the hardest part, probably because I started with everything in the wrong hands, but once I'd got my head round it, it was a lovely process.  This was 1 ply and would need to be twisted with another strand to make 2 ply or more that could then be used for weaving or knitting.

You can also use this fluff for needle felting, although it doesn't work for wet felting.

Nettle fibre hand spun
Lastly she showed us the process for doing the same with flax.  This time we only had to rub the stalks to have fibres that would only need a light combing to be ready to spin with.  After all the work with the nettles it was quite amazing.

It was a brilliant day and now my head is full of possibilities as it always is after a workshop.  The woodland behind our house is full of nettles so sourcing them won't be a problem, but do I really have time to process them once I have them?  (now's the time to forage them, and they can sit and dry till I am ready, but if I wait I'll have to wait till next July!)

Flax fibre
Or do I just grow some flax next year in the garden?  I love the idea of having my own sustainable yarn and cord to use as I want.  I also love the idea of keeping old crafts alive.  So much to think about.

Sunday 14 August 2022

Burnham Beeches 10k


I must have been about 10 when I first visited Burnham Beeches.  As we wondered round the woods we came across many little huts and walk ways between the trees - it was the set of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

I have no idea if we knew they were filming there or not, but it became a favourate place to visit.

I may have moved away from the area now, but my friend still lives near by so I still get to walk in the wood sometimes.

Today though I did more than walk!  I did the Burnham Beeches 10k race.

It was very well organsied and a lovely route through the forest and if it hadn't been for the heat (another heat wave) and the fact I gave blood on Friday evening it would have been a very enjoyable experience.  As it was it I had to walk up the hills.

I was aiming to do it in under an hour, although I didn't think there was much hope of getting anywhere near my personal best, so was pretty pleased with a garmin time of 01:00:26.  Official time was 01:00:23!  And I placed 133 out of 274 runners.  41st female and 10th in my age category.  Considering just how hot it was I'm really pleased with that.

Getting to spend time with my friend after made it even better.

If it wasn't in August, with the risk of more heat like that, I'd be very much up to doing it again.

Tuesday 9 August 2022

Jewellery Pouch

 Earlier this year I made a silver lava ball necklace and bracelet set.  It's pretty but not something I would wear everyday, so I started to think about how I would like to protect them when not being warn.


Of course most of the jewellery I own was bought and so comes in its own box or pouch.  With limited space in my drawers, I decided a pouch might be best.  But what to make it from?

In June we went to Devon for a week.  While there we crossed the border and visited Bude and I found myself, on the hotest day of the year so far, trying on fleece jumpers at Kernow Fleece!  They were lovely and I bought one, although I've not had a chance to wear it yet.


While speaking to the lovely lady in the shop, I asked if they would sell me an off cut.  She had so many and I only wanted a small piece so she gave it to me.


I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it, using a design I created years ago to hold a key while running to stop it jingling.  So this week I finally got the chance to get my sewing machine out and create it.

I wasn't sure it would be big enough, but its perfect.  It holds the necklace and bracelet nicely but in a secure way - I'm pretty sure they would find it hard to escape.  Another small thing ticked off my list.