Saturday, 9 August 2014

Balance, weaving & bringing in the harvest...

fields at harvest time

There's been a lot of writing tasks to do lately and not so much time for crafting, which I guess just happens every now and then.  Usually the balance is restored by taking a quick trip out somewhere to gather inspiration or by just having a little rummage through my craft stash and trying something new.

I've had it in my mind recently to have a go at weaving a wall hanging using lots of threads, yarns, ribbons and things that I have around so, I made a loom out of an old picture frame and had a play with a blue/green seaside theme - deliberately wanting it to look kind of 'un-settled' like the sea and leaving wispy ends like seaweed.  I attached a wavy 'drift wood' type stick as a hanger too  (I think I'm yearning for a holiday.. or at least a trip to the seaside!)

seaside themed textile art

Anyway, weaving is quite a slow process and you can't really be in a hurry doing it but that makes it quite relaxing and sort of therapeutic as your mind can simply wander while you work.  It was an enjoyable thing to do and I've invested in a proper small wooden loom for my next piece.

Something else I've enjoyed doing this weekend is bringing in the harvest... not proper farm crops (although there's plenty of that type of activity going on around here) but a beautiful, scented crop of lavender.  

Last year I noticed one of my neighbours had a huge lavender bush in their front garden and, when they were cutting it back towards the end of the summer I asked if I could have some of the stems which they told me they just throw away (eek!)  

lavender flowers

This year I offered to cut it back for them which they were more than happy about and meant I could harvest all the flower stems so bit of a win/win.  It didn't take long before I had a huge bucket full (and that was only half the bush!) 

bunches of lavender

The first thing I did was tie it all into bunches and let them hang for a couple of hours to get rid of any creepy-crawlies.. and while that was going on I nipped indoors to have a quick search around the internet to find the best technique for drying it out without loosing the scent.  The general advice is to hang in a dark, dry room or airing cupboard - or failing that put into brown paper bags to dry out.  I didn't have a large enough room/cupboard or any bags either so needed to come up with a bit of improvisation.....luckily we had a huge roll of brown wrapping paper to hand so I thought I would just make big 'envelopes' for each bunch.

addicted to making lavender

I laid each bunch out on the paper and untied the strings - the scent that wafted up whilst doing it was immense!

drying out lavender

 Then I folded the ends up and taped the sides together...

...and finally taped over the ends to make huge envelopes.

After that I made some fine vertical slashes so that some air can get in and help dry it out without getting mouldy. I now  have 5 big envelopes of lavender drying!  

Apparently it can take a good month for the lavender to properly dry out and be ready to remove from the stems so I just need to wait now (although I will give them a little shake every day or so to help separate them out whilst drying too).  


I wonder how many lavender bags I will be able to stuff with that lot?!  At least I should be able to sleep well and maybe I'll even dream up some new tutorials ;-)

Happy weekend!

All photos & text (c) Addicted to Making 2014