Thursday, 12 November 2009

Spinning Weekend

Last weekend, I went with Felix and Liz to Beech Hill Farm in East Sussex. Beech Hill Farm is owned by Felix's friend Julia and we stayed in "The Studio", a converted barn with a lovely wood burning stove and cosy kitchen and bedrooms.

The Studio

The view up the lane to the road

We arrived in the dead of night on Friday so Liz and I did not know what the area around the farm looked like. It was also raining so we holed up in front of Autumn Watch and commenced the knitting.

Later, Felix needed something from the car and when she came back inside, she announced that there were stars. And boy, were there stars! The sky had completely cleared and as we were in the country, we could see many more stars than are visible in town. If the moon had not been so bright, we would have seen many more.

I was sad that I had left my star chart at home but I was able to identify the Plough, the North Star, the Seven Sisters (I think), Orion and Cassiopeia. There was also a very bright star and another which was slightly reddish which I wondered were planets or maybe satellites.

While were outside, we heard three Tawny Owls which we had just learned about from Autumn Watch. Later, Liz reported our 'hearings' to the Tawny Owl Survey.

The view from the studio

On Saturday, we woke to the sound of Sheep. Julia keeps a flock of Wensleydales which we met a couple of while they were being fed. After a breakfast of porridge made by Felix, we headed off to a local farm shop where we bought provisions for dinner, including sausages made on the farm.

A Wensleydale Lamb

The Wheels

In the afternoon, Wendy came to teach us to spin. While Liz and I are confident spinners with our own wheels, Felix had never used a wheel to spin before. Wendy brought some Black Romney fleece from another local farm and it was great to be able to experiment and not worry about how my yarn was turning out without using up any of my limited fibre stock at home. I managed to spin some fabulous thick yarn on a special wheel, the Country Spinner which has a weighted wheel and is designed for spinning thick yarn.

Country Spinner

It was difficult to get the hang of though so I went back to my own wheel and the finer yarn I am happier with. Felix very much got the spinning bug and in the evening after dinner, we all sat and span while watching the X Factor.

Felix learning to spin

On Sunday, after packing everything back into the car, we headed off to Lewes and after a wander around town in some fabulous shops, we stopped at the Needlemakers for lunch and a poke round the shop. Disappointingly, the fabric shop was closed but this was probably a good thing for my wallet! In the basement was an Alladin's Cave of bric a brack and antiques. There were books, clothes, niknaks, and best of all, haberdashery items.

Tins and packets from the 40s and 50s

I was a little worried to find items that I remembered from my childhood amongst the antiques. I could have quite happily spent the whole day down there poking around in all the nooks and crannies. I came away with an Enid Blyton book on tape (The Sea of Adventure which I read as a child), a pretty darning mushroom for my socks and a set of hideous patterns for knitting jumpers with giant Muppet faces on them.

Knitting goodies

It was fabulous to spend the weekend with Liz and Felix. It was very relaxed and much good food was eated in great company.

A carved seat covered in mushrooms


  1. Thanks for your lovely company last weekend - I had a great time.

  2. It was really great and I love how you have written about it here, so evocatively and with such nice pictures. x