Where to begin? Am just re-emerging from a period of illness and then family bereavement, and it feels good to be back into the website, replying to a backlog of emails from potential customers (sorry!) and updating the stock levels.
New of Clive's death threw me into a period of wool dyeing and also (rather less
successful) home-baking. It's hard not to feel creative when you are surrounded by such great autumn colours.
I've attended two great woolly events in the last few weeks, which has helped with a sense of focus: Highland Wool and Textiles Festival and then St Abbs Wool Festival. It's easy to underestimate the amount of work that goes into making these events such a success until you are at the event and see how much needs to be co-ordinated and how much effort goes into the pre-event publicity.
At both events I had lots of lovely visitors to the Lammermuir Wool stand, and it's filled me full of enthusiasm for the year ahead.
The sheared fleeces have been taking up useful space in the conservatory for far too long. Although the cats have made lofty perches up on the tops of the sacks, and will miss their high seats.
The fleeces were well skirted at shearing-time, with all daggings and 'clarty bits' removed.
The task for today was to unroll each fleece in turn and give it a good shake, removing any double-cuts and vegetation. Then the fleece is laid (skin side down) on the table and checked over very carefully. Any remaining bits of vegetable matter are removed, then the fleece is rolled back up again and packed - as tightly as possible - into a sack. The colours are each kept separate, so that they can be processed separately at the Mill.
It's tiring work, and a bit greasy as the fleeces are still rich in lanolin. The trick is to remember how soon it will come back, cleaned, spun and ready to use.
The weather her has been fantastic and Hamish and I spent the afternoon wandering around Lammermoch, taking new photographs for the website - especially the shopfront section. We are lucky to live close to the hills and the reservoirs, and so there is plenty of opportunity to take great photos while enjoying some peace.
I met a lovely lady last year who got me thinking about photos, and branding and the like, and so I'm happier now that I have product photos which are as much part of the landscape as my wool is! Check this out - sunbathing wool.