I was still recovering my wits from a stressful four days working in Holland, when we awoke Saturday morning. I had planned to leave at 8am and should have stuck to that, but talked myself into leaving at about 10am (still desperately trying to catch up on housework). The M5, of course, was a nightmare after Droitwich, with what seemed like every caravan, lorry and car in the country trying to go south (the other side wasn't much better!). Foolishly we came off twice, trying to avoid the traffic, but discovered the bottleneck moving down the country with us. I should have insisted we started earlier and stayed on the motorway, and I should've booked a hotel for the night, but having only just got home I was anxious to get back to my own bed.
My beloved Cog got despatched with the camera, as I was already 10 minutes late for the 3pm CSM class I booked. So I'm not entirely sure what some of the mill equipment was for, but ultimately it was for turning fleece into yarn and then weaving it. The Cog didn't take pics of the stalls, because "you've seen them all before, I'm sure!" :) Not sure if that was a dig or not!
I don't have a picture of the weaving loom, but a video, which is sideways for some reason, so it needs editing.
So, I arrived all stressed-out for the CSM class. Luckily I've already had a go with mine, so I know a bit of what I'm doing. I made a hem and picked up part of it (I was dashing to keep up with everyone else) and went onto the heel part, which was the bit I was most interested in.
When working the first part of the heel, you pull down on the sock with your free hand, and adjust that every few rows - because, the centre of gravity is changing. Once you get to the "turn", you can hang your heel weights.
When working the second part of the heel, you need to hold the latch open as the yarn carrier comes around and then the stitch shouldn't drop. Worked great in the workshop, not so much at home (my heel spring is not very springy). The spring that holds the needles in place (a long spring with a clasp for joining it in a circle) was rather loose, so the held needles were all pointing inwards quite a bit (I suspect I could even have replaced a needle without removing the spring).
It all seemed to be going OK so I cranked merrily onwards until SPROING! Utter chaos! A nest of yarn and needles and spring. The teacher said she thought it was fixable. Um.... no.... I'm not THAT much of a masochist! And then it was pretty much time to go, alas!
Got some tips on starting the ribber as well. You cast on with every needle, and then transfer to one ribber needle and work a few rows, then transfer to a ribber needles each side (3 R needles in work) etc until you get the whole lot working. That's the next thing to try, I think.
Had a quick dash around the stalls and bumped into Nick at Uppingham Yarns (he'd had the good sense to stay overnight, haha!). There were some lovely stalls but panic sets in when you only have 20 mins to see the whole place. There were some alpaca and sheep you could buy out of the back. I did briefly consider whether we could get one on the back seat of the Fiesta but was given a Stern Look. Had a quick dash around the museum, which is well worth a visit! I especially liked the air raid shelter with emergency toilet (a bucket behind a curtain), and the fantastic steam engine, which was a later addition once they needed to produce worsted yarns. The mill shop is wonderful - I resisted buying a fluffy sheep. Then it was back on the M5, now back to normal. We headed to Glastonbury for a curry - the food was great, but the staff weren't exactly welcoming. Glastonbury is very pretty and a lot smaller than I imagined.
Water outlet at mill
Water entering mill (I think these are called "leats")
The water wheel is under here
These plaster children were looking out of all the windows. I love the fact that he's wearing a hair net over his cap - have Health and Safety been around?! :)
Mural. This mural has been made out of lots of large pieces by the locals, and depicts the surrounding area of the mill. It's fascinating to look at and must have taken ages.
Close-up of mural