Friday, December 31, 2004

Old Year's Night - or New Year's Eve?

Magrat brought this up last night - most of us call it the latter. In fact, I see it as both, a drawing together of the threads, and underlining, of one part of an on-going process; and a fresh start, a time to make changes or take new steps. Time to slough off some of the bad, and try something that hopefully will be better. That's why I always like to make resolutions, both ones that say "I will not" and those that say "I will try to". In short, it is an important time for me.

Unfortunately....not everyone in this household feels that! So there has always been, shall we say, a certain amount of unspoken conflict. Well, it didn't used to be unspoken, it got pretty verbal years gone by. But what the hell, life's too short, I quit arguing, just do my own thing inside my own head.

That has been harder this year, and I really don't know why. (The whole midwinter festival thing has been, as probably aforementioned.) But I do need to have some kind of resolution-outline in place before bedtime.......ok, so basically, not to beat myself up so much about stuff, and to get done more of what I really want to be doing. I'm not going to set myself targets here, not so many items finished by this time next year or anything like that. Just to aim for a feeling of quiet satisfaction about the amount of time spent on spinning, knitting, even weaving (oh, there's a laugh!), reading even - compared with time spent on burnishing the homestead or whipping up souffles in the kitchen (I don't - really I don't!!! But you know what I mean.)

I would like to have the currently ongoing stuff finished by the end of the month. I would like to spend more and regular time with my charka, and to make the tiniest little thing with some of the yarn. I would like to dye lots of stuff for the wool festival in June (and as an aside, having looked at their website this morning, my chances of teaching there are screwed - I'm not going to say why in what has even the tiniest chance of being a public forum, but I will eat my Sunday best scarf if I get offered a workshop!!) And I would like to make just one thing that I am as close to feeling completely happy with as possible - spun, dyed and whatever, not from commercial yarn. Oh, and more time writing (chips a bit more off the domestic stuff...)

I don't want much, do I??


Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Falling through the cracks

I have decided that this is a funny old time - the few days between Christmas and New Year, when Pete goes back in to work and I am despite my best efforts just somehow hanging there. The intention is to put the time to good use - decree it my own personal holiday, spin, knit, bead, whatever - but somehow, it just doesn't feel right. More work needs doing!

I have today knit a little and started plying the Optim which I finished spinning last night. I'm going to do a very simple lacy scarf - possibly even Old Shale. Not quite sure, need to sample (!!!) first. My plan for lots of beading may go completely pear-shaped, as my reading glasses fell apart this morning, the screw has vanished, and the optician isn't open until after the New Year. I haven't yet tried with the OTC readers/magnifying lens. I hope one or both work, it has been so nice to get beading again.

Monday's visit to York was ok-ish. The mater is getting through the sherry again, and it is amazing how much difference it makes - she has a much better mood all round when off the stuff. It is such a shame - I am the last one not to enjoy a little tipple in the interests of fun and relaxation, but one or two is way different from five or six, and somehow she can't see how much worse she feels when she is drinking more. Too late to change her now, not that anyone ever could.....

My self-indulgent order from Amazon arrived this morning, a very welcome post-Christmas present to me. The two books on beading are lovely - the Interweave one on brick stitch, which is waaaaay better than I had thought it might be, and the Carol Wilcox Wells ""Art and elegance of bead weaving" is gorgeous too. I particularly like some of the little beaded beads and shapes that I can have fun playing around with and using up some of the less well advised purchases that I made before I had any glimmering of what I was doing. And yet again, those words ring out "so many projects, so little time". So - get on with it!!


Sunday, December 26, 2004

I wasn't dreaming of.......

I never do, because I never believe for one moment that such a thing would ever happen. but, blow me down, this year it did. We woke up yesterday morning to an honest to god real and genuine white Christmas.

In fact, it snowed off and on throughout the day, never enough to make for any depth or road problems, but enough to keep everywhere looking like a fairy tale. Pennie arrived nice and early and joined us for breakfast, Heather called in with a chair and stayed for Buck's Fizz, presents were opened and in the main greatly appreciated (I have one book that I already owned, but I am sure I can sort that one out) we went for a (in my case) very short walk. And I came back and whapped through all the veggie preparation before the others arrived.

We had a nice time. I actually wouldn't pitch it any higher than that - not quite sure why. I suppose I felt that I was picking up some sort of a vibe from someone or other, but really, it was ok. The meal was good - my usual Rose Elliott Christmas roast, which is gorgeous, all the usual veggies and trimmings, and a pud from Betty's, which was super, better that others we have had, and which will become a regular feature. Freda brought a gorgeous pancake thing and Heather some desperately rich but delicious homemade icecream. We didn't eat too much, or (rather more sadly!) drink too much either. Stayed up chatting with Pennie till quite late, which ended up with me peacefully knitting whilst P&P discussed the DWP for ages. Well, they were happy - whatever it takes!

And today - Boxing Day - the weather has been extraordinarily beautiful. Blue sky, sun, and the light snow cover intact as it is very cold. Quite gorgeous. Pennie left fairly early - well, we will see her tomorrow - and Pete and I have now nearly finished the big crossword (this is so that he can tell Cornwall that we have done so. Sibling rivalry!) I was struggling while he had the paper and I knitted, but once I grabbed it off him and abandoned the knitting, we sailed along. We are managing our tradition of not cooking - there were leftovers after all, and I had bought plenty of salad ingredients, so tuna salad for lunch and we shall have fried potatoes and left over roast for supper. We are out tomorrow, so no cooking then, either. Much as I love cooking for friends, it is soo good to have a break from it.

And as we were speaking of the knitting (as this is supposed to be a fibre blog of sorts) there is a rat scurrying through the maze of my brain that wants to abandon all originality with the Rovings yarn that I have been struggling with for so long and turn it in to a domino afghan. I actually think it would look good like that, and would cut through the Gordian knot. Then I could move on to something else garment-wise. What are the pros and cons? The aforementioned, but against, where would I display/use it, without the risk of Max eating it. I need to think about it.

I finished a bead bracelet for Pennie in time to give her as an installment on her birthday present. I really think she liked it. the next bit is finally under way, and I am also enjoying beading again. I need to make sure that I build that in to the regular round - I need to get the NY revolutions done. So many projects in mind.......


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Blow, blow thou winter wind....

What I thought was a continuous procession of military aircraft flying over has turned out to be the wind wuthering over the ridge, and fortunately not buffeting us too badly down here. But it has been very dark all day, and quite rainy. However - the snow is forecast again in the next few days, and by golly, I do hope it comes - even a little, like Monday is good for those of us of a childish bent.

Well, a funny day. Finally had the long-awaited hospital appointment. Remembering the last time, I allowed half an hour travel time, and half an hour to find a parking slot. So, I got there in twenty minutes, and immediately some kind young woman was leaving and gave me not only her space, but her ticket as well. Fortunately I had taken a book, so sat in the car for a while before going in - way too depressing a place to linger in - and then got my spindle out in the waiting room. Today seemingly was Asian grandmothers day, and they were all quite fascinated to see me sit there spinning lace weight Falklands top on a lightweight Greensleeves spindle. I do so like to provide entertainment in these places!

Anyway, it was all a complete waste of time (fortunately), all was well, and they don't want me back again, which was what I was going to say only they said it first. Well, huzzah.

As I was over in Halifax, it seemed sensible to do the supermarket run on the same trip. No clotted cream!!!! But at least I don't have to do much more shopping. There was extremely cheesy Xmas music playing all the time I was in there, and it sounded so odd - I am untouched by Christmas spirit. But not by holiday spirit - is there hope for me at last? I have relatively calmly worked through the "to-do" lists, got all the food organised, some social events, and am really looking forward to a few festive days. But can it be that at last I am not trying to recreate something unrecreatable, but doing my own thing? I really think so. I am apparently happy this year at least to take the bits I want, discard the crap, do some new bits....this could be fun. Still want presents, though...hope there is some fibre out there with my name on it.

So now I have two days to do whatever cleaning I am going to do (ain't gonna be much, that's for sure), bake a mince pie or two, see the Coven on Thursday and Heather on Friday morning. Maybe do a little beading, I'm trying to get right back in to that. Whatever.

And make a New Year's revolutions list. Oh, yeah!!


Saturday, December 18, 2004

A reasonable day

I'm going to be curmudgeonly, and not pitch it any higher than that. Lots of mates there, but not enough time to speak to them, some interesting visitors but with some irritations, too much going on so no time to spin.....I'm just never satisfied, I know!

I think I may have been a tad rude to two of the visitors. Two women, one a machine knitter (does lovely stuff, from the evidence of the photos and the garment that her friend was wearing) who have visited Turkmenistan and want to work with some women there to set up some sort of textile business. But they started out saying they wanted to take in knitting machines, because that was what one of them knew, and that they needed to get the women spinning on wheels, not spindles, to improve their yarn. "Oh, really?" says I. "Why?" Pete jumped at the "improve the yarn" bit as well, and started defending spindles, and I let off some steam about working within the existing textile tradition and not trying to bolt on something external. OK, I actually do agree that things cannot and should not necessarily be set in concrete, but it sounded a little to me as is they were falling in to the trap of being two enthusiastic westerners who could see "better" ways of doing things. They were asking about natural dyes as well - I mentioned Dobag, but I'm not sure they had heard of it, and certainly didn't know all that much about natural dyes and dyeing...they got the two bob lecture......

I could think of all sorts of things that I would want to ask, find out, consider, to find a viable product that would reflect their skills and heritage but still be marketable - wherever. Oh, all sorts of things. Oh, dear, I seem to have an entrepreneurial streak in me after all!

Had to spend some time not being rude to a guild member who I cannot stand at any price and who decided today for whatever reason that I was her new best friend. Serve me right for always being courteous to her. fortunately, several people picked up my sotto voce distress flares, and ran interference, distracted her/me. I survived. And also managed not to be rude to another one who I don't dislike but find supersuprauberDULL. Not putting up Christmas decorations, forsooth! How mean spirited, bah humbug-ish, &etc. (Never been guilty of that meself, noo, not I....)

Combed three mini-rovings of Babe and spun them, twirled the spindle a little, and that was IT. Time to go sit downstairs over a nice cup of tea and knit some, spin some.


Friday, December 17, 2004

We live beneath the same stars

It is something that non-internet people don't get - how it is possible to be literally moved to tears, whether of joy or as in this case, sorrow, about things happening to people never met. And yet, and yet, we know them, in a sense, so well, we share so many of their doings, their tears, their laughter. There is something about some people, that they can put a lifetime, a world, into a few sentences that we then read on a cold screen in some other part of the world.

So why did I cry? Because the partner of someone I have never met has been killed in an accident. And now, around the globe, other strangers are recording their sadness about this in blogs and emails, and we gather some comfort from it, knowing that there are many of us who care, about him and about his friends, and their pain as they have to go on step by step.

And just how do the stars come in to it? Because Harry wrote so incredibly movingly about finding his beloved under the cold diamond light of Orion. And because only a night or two ago, I was looking upward from half a world away at the same constellation, bright and clear above my house. Sometimes, there comes a reminder that if you prick us, we do bleed, or cry salt tears, or cackle with crazy joy or.....and whatever our artificial boundaries or vast oceans that might divide us, we only have to reach out a thought or a hand, and we can touch and comfort one another.


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Midwinter, midwinter

Not really. And it is not even cold, let alone anything remotely resembling deep and crisp and even. But....the sun did shine today, and it was luverly. I had an appointment this morning for which I was early (oh! What a surprise!), so I strolled around a little, stood by the canal and looked into its murky waters. Pete had said something on the phone earlier about having seen the sun and clear blue sky over the sea as he drove in to work, and my little heart did a lurch. I do so need to see the sea. The only thing wrong with living where we do is the lack of it. But I need to nurture the river, or rather, regard of it, so beautiful in its own right, and couldn't be more actually on my doorstep, much, anyway. I am fighting one of my periodic fits of wanderlust again at the moment, fantasizing about upping sticks and moving to a mild climate with blue skies and lots of sea lapping around. I get quite close to some of the dream in reality, it is just a question of a small amount of mental adjustment.

Lest it seem that no crafty activity is in progress, I am juggling around with beads to make a few small instant gifts for ye festive offerings. If you ignore the number of times I get bits wrong or snip through the wrong thread, it is going quite well. Whether or not my frail ego will actually allow me to send these things on their way to their intended recipients is another matter.

And now, a confession and a tale. I am one of those very sad people who occasionally looks up names of old friends on Google. Some years ago, when I was at University, I accidentally came across the name of a former crush as author of a book, and realised that he had a modicum of public profile. So he is one such - and yes, it is someone I lusted after as a very young schoolgirl, so sue me. I did another round of "where are they now" yesterday, and for the first time (I'm slow, but I get there eventually) thought to check the "Image" button. Nothing. of the entries just happened to have a photo.

Hear now the shattering of broken illusions. Despite looking daily in my own mirror, and being at least three-quarters reasonable and honest about what I see, I was in no way prepared to see an old man (well, not really, but you know what I mean) who looked exactly like the father of the afore-mentioned tall dark and handsome youth of my memory. Well, poot. Not only that, but he was wearing baggy shorts and brown brogues with no socks. And I won't let on as to the context in which he appeared on Google because it would give away too much, but it is a bit......I'm not quite sure. However, speaking as a spinner fer heaven's sake - who am I to talk!


Sunday, December 12, 2004

Sometimes the universe takes against one.

Oh, nothing major. I'm really having a rant against credit card companies. OK, so I should have read the small print, and I should have remembered to pay the damn thing on time, but to just cut you off without letting you know doesn't seem fair to me. Now, why should I expect anything like a cccompany to be fair? They exist to make money out of all us suckers. But I just got miffed. No big deal, but......

And then, the DSM decided to be kind to me at five this am, and tenderly tried to cover me up with his dressing gown because I had thrown the duvet off again (I don't do that so much now, but last night it was mild, and I had had a hot hot water bottle, and....Anyway, I wasn't really asleep, and it tickled! I yelled three shades of blue murder, and then couldn't get off to sleep at all. So I lay there trying not to fume, getting more and more uncomfortable as one does, and finally stomped off downstairs at quarter to seven to read with a very large cup of tea.

I seem to have a number of try-outs on the go at the moment. I'm spinning some Optime on the Schacht - at least, I think that is what it is called. Very pretty, but I'm not totally convinced about it fibrewise. Then I have crocheted and knitted beaded bits all over the place because of doing samples for the AH class, one of which at least will grow up to be a bag. Oh, and that's funny! I was just chatting with a friend over a very much needed cup of coffee, and she for whatever reason asked about a bag I had been knitting a couple of weeks ago. I showed it to her - it's pretty, a remnant of pinkish polwarth from Rovings, with plain glass beads and a little tassel - and you could see that she was totally unconvinced about it. Couldn't see what it was for - really quite sad how some people are like that, you can't just do it because.

I rather think that the class on the Online Guild next month is on using up little bits and pieces, and looking at random, domino &etc knitting. Could be both useful and enjoyable - meanwhile, I'm experimenting with some domino squares, might have enough of a couple of blue/green oddments to do a little neck shawl.

Keeps me out of mischief.


Thursday, December 09, 2004

Christmas is coming.....

...the nut roast is getting fat. And I have just done that thing - you know, where you are sitting comfortably and suddenly you feel your mouth opening and words over which you have no control at all just coming right out.
Having been saying to all and any who would listen that, lucky us, we were all on our own again this Christmas (and meaning it), first I go and ask my sister to come over, which is fine, and then when a friend tells me that usual plans between her and some other folk we know are maybe not working out too well..."Oh, maybe we should all get together!". And, yes, that was your voice, Carol. And so it is going to be. Well, I'm not sure about Pennie, yet. Whatever.
So, instead of the two of us slobbing about and eating and drinking too much in front of the telly, or more likely some Bach, there will be six or seven, and one of them I haven't even met!
Actually, I think it will be fun. I am, buggerit, faintly reminded of the Christmases of yore, when we used to get together with R&R, J&J. This makes me cross, because those days are long gone, through no wish of mine, and try as I might, I still have some unresolved issues, and...well, no need to go there now. Revenge? Who said revenge??? No, this is an entirely different thing, and the people concerned are interesting and fun, and I have no emotional capital invested, and I think it will work out just fine. But getting planning would help - it will go much smoother with plans - and lists. Can't beat a good list.

So what else, apart from the fact that I am a very irregular blogger? I've been over to York to visit the mater, which was actually very pleasant, and I must do it like that again. Spent the night with M&R, and then went to a beading day. Which turned out to be fun, light relief and all that, but not quite what I had thought it would be. Still, made a change, and got me actually handling wire working tools again. The next one will be much more stretching, on herring bone. Looking forward to that.

I have been trying to finish a bracelet since then, and having all and everything go wrong. That will teach me to despise stringing! And no, I haven't been working on the one I want to do for Pennie, though I will do soon, really. Yes, really. But its like everything else at the moment, hard slog and often doesn't work. But. But, I keep on trying, and do eventually get there - I think! The strip waistcoat is still in bits, but is slowly being taken apart and turned into a mitred square waistcoat. I'm trying to creep up on it, I'm not really doing that, just sort of doing an extended sample. I am actually a little unconvinced that I am totally enamoured of it, but I sort of have the feeling that I want to do something with this particular yarn and then be done with it. I can't, for whatever reason, just put it away and move on to something else - sometimes that is the right thing to do, but not this time. I need to complete something with it that is livable with, and then I can look myself in the eye again. Sad, or what????

I have to write one more thing. Dorothy has died. It was so quick. And that was, I think, definitely one of those cliched mercies. She and I were not close friends, but I had known her a long time, through guild, and Sue's class, and Thursday nights. I liked her quietness and her sense of humour. I am going to miss her a lot.


Tuesday, November 30, 2004

There must be fibre in here somewhere, surely?

Well, yes, there is some. I was at the Knitting & Stitching Show all day Saturday, and took my wheel. I am braving another fleece, the famous Babe, in fact. I washed a chunk, dripped it dryish over the sink and then put it on a rack by the radiator to finish of. Oh, amazing, it maybe felted a tiny bit at the underside, but it could just be the fleece. I'm combing it, and it is coming up very nicely. (Babe is a Polwarth/Jacob cross in varying shades of grey, quite a fine fleece of intermediate length. I reckoned too long to card comfortably, and in any case, I prefer combing to carding, and its my fleece and I'll card if I want too.......
I'm spinning Babe pretty fine at the moment, and am not sure which way to go - I could do a three-ply for socks, or thin the dreaded "l"(ace) word. I'll see how I feel.
Anyway, all day at the show, quite good fun, didn't spend too much - a few beads for a class I'm taking (not leading) early next year, a project box, and some Shetland top from Jameson and Smith because its good stuff, and we should be encouraging them. But I was quite restrained for once (the size of the hangover credit card bill from the US trip might just have had something to do with that!)
What I hadn't bargained on was having to go back on Sunday. Yes, these things happen - two people got sick, and no one could help that, but I do wish one of them had let us know before twenty minutes after she was supposed to be there! Might have stood a chance of contacting one of the others at home if we had known at an earlier hour. We did have a sort of back-up plan, but it didn't work out time-wise, so we felt we had to go back to help out - otherwise all the gear would have been left languishing in Harrogate, which would not have been a good idea! So himself goes sick on Monday, being somewhat knackered, and then throws a wobbly sleepwise last night, and isn't it funny how his threatened sleepless nights turn in to my actual ones......Ah, well.
So spent a very sleepy day with a friend, and we have decided that we need a working day every three weeks or so to try to focus us. We do some of the same things, some different, I can see this working out quite well. One aim I have is to do some felting - I love doing it, and will rarely set a day aside just by myself. More dyeing, too. And we both find we have been cherishing a secret desire to make cards in a variety of different techniques, including doing marbled paper which she can do and will show me how. I see this as a New Year's revolution - I love those, and actually they do kind of work for me. Fingers crossed!


Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Doing our duty

But it was actually quite fun doing it.
Did the set-up for the Harrogate K&S today, and though I says it myself, it looks rather good. Not that this has much to do with me, Nanny Ogg and Freyalyn did most of the work of arranging etc, but I suppose standing back and saying "left hand down a bit" from time to time has some value.
Now we must wait and see if "anyone" (you know who I mean!) comments, favourably or not! Pete and I will be there on Saturday. It's a fun deal, half a day's duty, the other half to socialise and wander round and er.......Shop. Not too much, if I can manage to be restrained, my latest credit card bill is appalling. Although quite a bit of the shocking total is for spindles and fibre for resale, so I suppose I shouldn't be too hard on myself.

Now - I have this dire thought constantly in my head. I should totally frog the strip waistcoat, and redo it in domino knitting. Is that grotesque, or what, after all the a: work; b: bleating on about it. Humph. But there is not getting away from the notion now it is implanted, and it is an idea with merit, for heaven's sake. I am far from convinced that the strip concept is working - I am not sure that the yarn is balanced enough, and I think the strips may be biasing a very little. This would not be a problem in most things, but this, with strips of varying length - it could be a disaster. Then I have some bits out of whack and need to alter them anyway....
I came up with this concept to accommodate the varying shades of purple in some yarn spun from some Rovings polwarth. Domino would do the same job, garter diamonds wouldn't bias....oh, shucks, I don't know. Watch this effing space.


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I know I said I wouldn't......

....mention the p(hot0graph) word again, I mean.
But yesterday, Freyalyn told me she had started a blog and just been able to do the upload bit without any difficulty, so I thought I would try again, but via Internet Explorer.
Nothing, nada, zip. As they say. After tomorrow, I might try downloading Mozilla and see if that helps.

And now I will go silent on that score again.

I have been doing a quick trawl through my favourite blogs. Blogging is proving very interesting, in more ways than one. I have been beating myself up for not posting regularly enough. Ahem - I am at least as frequent as most and much more so than many. Not that this is a contest, no really, I don't do competition. But it is a useful window to reappraise myself through from time to time.

I have been putting the finishing touches to organising stuff for the Knitting and Stitching Show, we are setting up tomorrow. I came to the conclusion that I had been stressing about it more than I might, and finally had the break-through thought as to maybe why - it is reminding me of the dread Exhibition debacle. By which I don't mean the Exhibition was, but the total lack of support from the Association during the gruesome later stages. Talk about being shafted by all and sundry - no, that isn't true, I had lots of tea and sympathy not to mention solid practical help from everyone around here, but the heirarchy.....I don't very often let myself revisit all this, it is after all a long time ago. But just occasionally it surfaces, as things do. Not quite finished with yet!

I am still stalling on projects in hand. Decided to go with the corkscrew scarf yesterday and today, as I am all to well aware that the waistcoat is going to need a bit of frogging and maybe rethinking. I have run out of the purple yarn for the scarf! This lengthways version eats the stuff. But I have some multi-coloured which I think will do for the final row or two, and be a reasonable "design feature". I should with a bit of luck finish spinning the well-aged very fine merino tonight, and then I think I might spin the autumn colourway batts I brought back from SOAR to do a domino knit piece with. The scarf might, just might get done, too, although the rows are so long now, that they seem to take forever, so - perhaps not! For demo-ing at the K&S, I am going to take my Bosworth charka, and my new Forrester spindle, on which I am spinning some of the merino and tencel, which is coming up very nicely. Hot pink. For socks.

I cooked a killer supper last night. The Rose Eliot chunky nut and vegetable roast (I hardly ever do nut roasts, and this one is particurly easy, and good to vary a little) with mushroom and red wine gravy, turnips (the little white ones) glazed with butter, honey and tamari, and steamed broccoli. I still like Rose Eliot - I see she has a new collection coming out for Christmas. Do I need another cookery book? Having come back from the States with all three volumes of Bloodroot's "Political Palate", probably not! Actually, I did a great recipe from one of those the night before. Can't remember what the dish is called, but basically sauerkraut and pasta - sounds weird, but it is actually fabulous! Trouble is, what to do tonight.......

H'mm. I've stayed in Internet Explorer to do this post, and now I find it won't allow me to spell-check. What the f...? So I will leave this in it's raw and unrevised state. Wanna make something of it, eh? Heh.


Saturday, November 20, 2004


Met the coven for lunch on Thursday (very nice Italian courtesy of Freyalyn). Is it going to snow, they said, no, we said, only in Scotland. Got back home, raised up mine eyes, and Lo! The tops were white. And by the time I got into the Midgehole road, there were great big splatters on the windscreen.
Friday morning, and off to AH teaching, and had to wok hard to defrost the car. It was a gorgeous morning, crisp, cold, blue sky, sunshine. I LOVE the dry cold, I was as happy as a clam. Went the day well? Pretty much. They liked, I think, my rapid run-through of woollen, worsted &etc. And I spent a lot of time in the afternoon with the beginners, which was good. Nice day.
Guild today. Another cold, clear day, I love it! And another goood day. Pleasant talk, if not wildly useful, but she was an entertaining speaker, started at the beginning and went on until the end without too many diversions - had lunch downstairs with her and a nice bunch of fellow members, everyone seemed quite happy, which given the life'slittleproblems that some have just at the minute was a distinct bonus. Sold some merino/tencel and some spindles, plus a little bit more of the Rovings stuff. How I love to fibre-enable!!
All I managed to do was to spindle spin with my new Forrester, some hot pink merino and tencel, which is working out just fine. But I need to get stuck in to some serious fibre work. Sylvia on FU had a really heart-felt post about this - not being able to do her real work and the effect it had on her - to which lots of folk, myself included, could really relate. (I can see myself coming back to that at some point soon.)
Good few days, though.


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Guess what, it's raining.....

Oh yes. Again.
Right, several more days catch-up. I keep vowing not to do this, but it seems to happen anyway - maybe I do manage to cram huge amounts of stuff into my life, and it's not delusional. Who knows?

I wanted to caption this entry "Father, dear Father" but that seemed maybe a little.....Disrespectful? Odd? Anyway, here's the gist. After more than eighteen months, I finally went to York to collect my father's ashes from the undertaker. A kind friend realised that I was feeling....not good...About this, and volunteered herself to come with me, for which consideration I was most grateful. Definitely not a sunshiney experience. The undertaker almost seemed to want to make some sort of a ceremony of handing me the cardboard box containing the mortal remains of my father but didn't quite know how to. I found it deeply disturbing to be handed this aforementioned cardboard box. There was, of course, a wooden casket inside, but I didn't realise this until later.
Fast forward a bit, and we are off to Cambridge to visit old friends. Now, that was good, had a pretty relaxed time. Even found time to chat with Liz a bit about what to do with the ashes, and she agreed with me as to the location. So, Sunday, off we trot to Norfolk, to a rather comfortable B&B for the night and on Monday make the pilgrimage to view the memorial bench in Cromer, and then on to The Spot.
Except that we hadn't thought to check out the casket properly, and we found that it wasn't easily openable. Aargh. I should have thought all of this through, but I have never been in this position before, and was as green as grass about it, not to mention having a few more feelings to assimilate and deal with. Sigh.

So - we really had no option but to bring the ashes back home with us! We are going to have to make a return trip, but at least I am now very certain where I want them to be, even if not quite sure how to achieve that!

I do feel an idiot. And not only about the above, and here comes an almighty and irreverent non-sequitur! Last week, I washed and ruined half a very nice corriedale fleece, by not remembering that I had a new washing machine with a very vigorous pump out before the spin. Mad? You bet! Then just today, knitting a bit of the corkscrew scarf, I managed to wrench the end of the needle out of the knotting, and it is going to be a thoroughly buggerish job picking the stitches back up. Mad? You bet! Is anything going right, fibre-wise at the moment? Not really, but then, I haven't had much time to have a really good go at anything. One more mega-effort and the waistcoat will be at a point when I can try it on and work out what to do with the neckline - that will be good. So I need to be thinking hard about the next project......

Of course, the one thing that would help my life at the moment is for it to stop raining - and for the sun to shine. Still, we did see the sun for two entire days in Cambridge! Maybe we should move - not.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Displacement activity from doing the ironing, but also displacing some hot words from a list.... "Sheep Thrills Lite" as Freyalyn tells me some call it, which is mildly amusing, unfair and typical of the sort of snotty thing that drove me from Sheep Thrills ultimately.
But the new list is talking politics, reasonably well, but it is getting a little.....Towards the right. I should - and perhaps could, but I don't think I am going to risk it - take issue, but have decided instead to vent a little steam, or indeed hot air, here, which is after all my own space, and even here I'm not going to be overly bombastic! What has tipped me over is some talk along the lines of "everyone who really wants to work can get a job". Sorry, sweethearts. That just ain't so. I have known - and know - more than one person whose mental health has prevented them from working, no matter how hard they tried. Maybe they get a job of sorts, but eventually, the psyche overwhelms the will and the body and there is a gawd-awful crash. Each time it gets harder for people to pick themselves up, and each time it gets harder to get the next job. Never heard of the cv, or references? Just why, Ms X is there a two year gap in your career record? Oh...Don't ring us, we'll ring you.
Then there is moi. It is true that these days I do do some work....I teach, as much as I am asked. I don't really know how it happened, but it did, does and for the present, is just fine (I could go on at some length here about the downside, but will leave that one until later.) Having proceeded to get the wrong sort of education after my original career choice changed the rules and I had tried my hand at self-employment (another no-no, as prospective employers really dislike someone who has had responsibility and independence in that sense) I tried very hard to get a job, applying for all sorts of things at, above and below what might have been perceived as "my level". Employers are not keen At All to take on anyone with a degree in sociology, a post grad certificate in Peace Studies and a defunct qualification in librarianship who is over forty, overweight and speaks in an RP accent (I do realise that this would not be an issue in the US, but there is probably some other factor that replaces it.) In other words, you have to Fit. And I didn't, don't and hope I never do, except that some of those jobs I would have liked and could have done, and done well. Starting to teach was not a path that I set out upon, or chose - I seized the opportunity when offered, but before it was, it was out of my control. It is simply not true that there is always a job out there, cleaning, waiting tables or whatever. If you don't look and sound right, the employers won't consider you.
Well, that was a nice little rant, wasn't it, eh? Having come to the conclusion that I have been whining about some stuff of late, and having vowed to do better - this! Well, makes a change.
I have, by the way, decided that what ails me is twofold - the weather, and having to go pick up my father's ashes tomorrow. On this I will expound at a later date.

Hey ho.


Monday, November 08, 2004

So much to do, so little time

That doesn't really express it all, but it will do for a quick and dirty title. Last few days have whizzed by in a blur of activity, mostly cultural (and deeply satisfying in the main).
Thursday evening- coven. Quiet and very pleasant, first time I had been since SOAR/cold etc, and nice to be back. Especially as Nanny Ogg brought Her Famous Chocolate Cake. Yum.
Friday. B came over for the day, and we went to the Bankfield for the Sue Lawty and others exhibitions. Got there at 12 to find they were closing for lunch at 12.30 which was a bit of a pain, so rushed in, had a very quick look around and then found that Sue was there, doing a week-long residency. So had a bit of a chat, and I ended up talking myself into doing a review for the Journal. Which is going to be difficult, as I was blown away by the exhibition. Anyway, she also told me that there was a talk on Sunday lunchtime, so....
Spent the rest of the afternoon chatting with B, after a nice enough but not outstanding lunch at the new pancake place. H'mm. Then went in to Leeds late afternoon to meet Pete, have a meal and go to a play at the Playhouse. Train did it's "lets have a nice long stop at West End" thing, so was very late in, meaning we missed our booking at the Cactus Lounge and had to settle for the Playhouse. Double h'mm. Shan't do that again in a hurry.
But the play - "Yong Tong" - was wonderful. I hadn't really expected to like it too much, not being a major Goons fan. But it was well constructed, written, staged (very simply, one set with a rise-up bar settle and table to be a pub, and a row of mics to be Goons recording sessions) well acted, with a cast of four, and the Harry Secombe one must have been a long lost son, the resemblance was so good, funny and gently touching. It was an exploration of Milligan's manic depression, essentially, and his character in general. Very nicely done, and I loved it.
Saturday night is opera night - sometimes. This time, Cosi. Again, a very good production, nicely cast (although one tenor had obvious problems with his voice on the night, and I know it isn't usually like that, we've heard him often before), good to look at. But I shouldn't go to actually see Cosi. The music is sublime, but I at least cannot rise above the story. I know it insults both genders and all the characters, and I know it is only an opera and all opera stories are silly, but even so I read it as very much more anti-women than most and I cannot get over that. My problem. And it certainly will be if it comes up again and I don't want to go and Pete does!!
We did go to the lecture by Sue on Sunday, and it was very good. Had a better look at the work too. Quite wonderful. A logical development of her thinking -I'm not going to go in to it here, I might post the review when I've done it - and it was at first very energising and encouraging. But then all my doubts came back with a bang, and I felt very depressed that I could respond so intensely to her work, feel it stirring my own shreds of creativity, but yet not be able to actually pull everything together and do something myself that I could like, see as valuable, accept as truly creative and worthwhile. I need to mull over all of the feelings stirred up, try to work through them I haven't the time to do that now, and haven't thought it all through anyway. It's painful. But I must.
So that's all the fibery talk this time.
An action-packed few days though (and maybe that's part of the problem?)
And reading back over this, although it was indeed action-packed, I seem to have condensed it in to very few words. Is this good or bad, I ask myself? Bleah, I need to go spin!


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.

That's me, banging my head on a brick wall. I shouldn't be writing this today, it's going to sound whiny, deeply wallowy. (I do like inventing words....)

Let's start with fibre stuff. The strip waistcoat, in fact. Having had a lot of good vibes about it, I decided last night that I needed to start sewing the strips together, to make sure that I got the back the right width (I have finished the pieces for the fronts and sides.) So, there I sits, a-sewing. The first attempt, the pieces are puckering, I've stretched one bit too much. So, rrrriipp - carefully - and I redo it. Much, much better - except that, on a slightly closer inspection, I have placed one piece upside down relative to the other. Oh, fuckin' ada.....I take a deep breath, rriipp again - and walk away for a while. I really, really want to get something passable at the end of this, so I need to take it slow and steady and be prepared to work to get it right (and here was I thinking this was meant to be fun.....)

So, what is really the matter, then? Well, it's the day after the US election and here we are again, cliff-hanger time. Ohio this time. And the end result will be the same, the modern American equivalent of Archie Andrews will be leader of the free world (sic) and how I do wish someone would educate him. I cannot bear the thought that all those evil men will still be twitching the strings, tweaking the beliefs of way too many people, wielding the decision of life or death or something unspeakable in between for so many. Oh, I feel so badly about it all that I can't bring myself to go on about it any more. It's the powerlessness that gets us, eh? Hence the thunk, thunk, thunk. They know what they are doing, but I remain convinced that the majority of those who vote for them do not. Aaargh.

I need to go away and focus on something good. Cats, a tasty meal, a warm fire, a spindle, some soft and silky fibre. The good things in life are very simple and do not have to involve vast amounts of money or power over others. I wish our brave and fearless leaders understood that. In that sense, I feel sorry for them.


Monday, November 01, 2004

I could write a novel if I could only come up with a PLOT.......

That was what my ma used to say all the time when I was a kid (along with "If I had my time over again, I wouldn't have children", said, of course, with a dainty laugh, but We Knew. So why does it appear now, as the title for today's entry? Because I couldn't think of anything better, that's why!

What's going on? I am still hacking and coughing and feeling like chewed string. This is only a COLD for freak's sake. It will pass. Like in a million years. It's getting in the way of properly getting into good stuff. Though I am as a consequence knitting away like fury on the strip waistcoat, and allowing myself some small hope that it might work. I do really, really hope so. I am feeling, actually, quite enthusiastic about possible projects, and do NOT want to be put off!!

We did go out on Saturday, to Manchester, to the theatre. Had a lovely day, some shshshshoppping (ie, I put far too much on my credit card because LB had some good stuff in, like a very, very cool un-formal suit in, oh guess what, a sort of plumaubergine. But I need to take up the skirt from the top which is going to be a bear. Unpicking the entire shebang, cutting down, re-attaching the lining, putting in the elastic waistband. I can do this - repeat ad nauseam....) So, back to the theatre - with M&F - we saw Volpone and it was terrific. Loved the play and loved the two leads, Gerard Murphy and....Stephen Noonan?? They were both in their natural element, like fish in water, led us around by the nose or the hand, depending, and created the really magic of theatre that actually you don't see all that often.

A brief list of plays where this has happened.....Brief Lives (Roy Dotrice); Wild Oats (Alan Howard); Much Ado..(Derek Jacobi and Sinead Cusack); Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Howard again); Becket (Robert Lindsay and Jacobi again); Arcadia (Bill Nighy and Rufus Sewell). Oh, and The Madness of George 111 (Nigel Hawthorne) probably just creeps in.

I love the theatre. Not many people know this - but when for a brief moment it looked as though I was going to have to leave Library School because of an admin mix-up, I was severely tempted to apply to drama school. One could, in those days, and there were grants. Sigh. But I didn't, ultimately, have the courage. Now, there's a plot for a novel....What would have happened to Moi if only.

Still, we end up where we end up, and the challenge, success and satisfaction surely lie in what we do with what we get, either from happenstance or choice.

So, folks, we are in to the final hours before....Well, what? The farce before the farce? The soi-disant democratic process before the days and weeks of argument and chicanery? It would be lovely to find that Kerry (for it is of course, the US election whereof I speak) immediately wins by a clear enough margin for it all to be done and dusted, but I hold out little hope. Neither do I seriously think that in the final analysis (ooh, I do love a good cliche!!) that a change of Prez will make THAT much diff, but - at least we would see the back of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perl and Wolfowitz, plus any others equally as bad that I wot not of.

Wouldn't it be luverly?


Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Here I sits

So, apart from a hole where a tooth used to be, I now appear to have a so far mild head cold. Ah well. All part of life's rich pattern.

What I need to do today is not actually sit here in front of the pc, but get to fibre work - it's a great opportunity. I finished the first sock last night, I would like to cast on the second, also have a go at shaping the tops of the w/c strips. Plus going through and gloating over my SOAR purchases and selecting something to spin.

I couldn't get to sleep last night, so decamped to the other room and tried out my wonderful new Forrester spindle. Wow, cor &etc. Quite wonderful. I think that spindles are getting, by and large, better and better.

I've just heard that the half New Zealand fleece I succumbed to has arrived and might be delivered to me tomorrow or Friday by Freyalyn. I do so need more fleece. Ahem. Actually, I may wash it straight away, I think the weather forecast is ok for the weekend, and it is, if I remember correctly, a rather nice white one which I could then dye. For what? Socks, domino shawl? At least I feel rather more inspired now than a few weeks ago....

But I can't settle to anything today, I'm being distracted by the slightest thing. Probably the effect of a less than perfect night's sleep. Ah, well.


Monday, October 25, 2004

Monday, Monday

First "normal" day after the hols, ie 'imself went back to work having decided that he might just live this time, and I allowed myself another lie-in and then had a few tasks set.
The major one being the twice-yearly Sort-Out of Clothes. If I had another room, or more cupboards....I would be so happy. but as it is, I have to do a seasonal change-over twice a year, and I absolutely hate it. I always know that as soon as I do it, the weather will revert (not quite so certain of that this year....) and I will need something packed away. Then, I look at all the limp rags hanging there in vibrant shades of brown, grey, black, navy and aubergine, and think - blech. However, on the odd occasions I do go mad and purchase something in a pastel or bright colour, I usually regret it afterward. So- there I am thinking that I do most surely wish that I could just bin the lot and Go Shopping...But sanity (!!??) always prevails and I don't. Well, actually, I might just pop in to my favourite place in Manchester on Saturday as we will be right there. Anyhow, it's done, there's a pile of stuff to get rid of and another that I might just put on eBay - some of it is quite nice and also quite unworn, some of those purchases, you know.

And it is grey, grey, grey - and raining. Sigh.

Final holiday report installment. After SOAR, we went to spend a night with an old friend and his second, American wife at their new B&B establishment. Very nice, and well-done. But ohygawd, it's going to kill their marriage if they (he) aren't careful. Playing an affable mine host from the old country as contribution to everything that needs to be done is not cutting it. Especially as it was all his idea anyway.

After that, we nearly killed off our marriage, by a massive miscommunication, but have somehow survived. Way too long a drive up to near the edge of the Catskills, ending up in a rather sad little town that did not cater to many foreign transients. The motel was ok, but when I say that supper that night was a Filet o' fish from McDonalds (whatever that was, it was unidentifiable as anything other than rather thick wallpaper paste)...Need I say more? The next day found us again at one another's throats until we reached a rather nice little place called, I believe, Phoenicia, where I seem to remember wailing pathetically that I needed a nice bowl of home-made soup. Whereupon my beloved in desperation dragged me in to the nearest cafe which had - just that, and a wonderful toasted cheese sarnie and I recovered and so did he and we seem to have lived to tell the tale.

That night, we fetched up in an absolutely charming motel in Woodstock, which is another nice place, although not well-endowed with eateries either, at least out of season it isn't. But it has a nice yarn shop, and a fabulous bead shop. And not too far away a pleasant little State park, with easy walking trails. And the sun shone and it was lovely.
More political conversations at both these places, probably not surprisingly! I did start to wonder if this was one of the reasons why this trip had had a bit of an edge to it - not far enough away from "real life"?

For our last night, we drove down to Connecticut to finally, finally fulfill our ambition of visiting Bloodroot. I don't really want to say too much in what is after all a public forum about a private visit. Except that it was wonderful, interesting, an oasis, a refuge, and that the welcome and the hospitality we received were terrific. I wish there were more places like it in the world.

And now we are home.


Saturday, October 23, 2004

One week later.....

This week has vanished in something of a blur, what with recovering from jetlag and poor old himself having a cold and being at home....I didn't say a word!

Yesterday I was teaching, and though I says it myself, I think it went ok. And I didn't fall asleep, even though one of my group bought me a glass of wine at lunchtime, which I simply could not reject. Enjoyed it, too. Maybe one can be too prissy.

Something of a SOAR report: it was good, but different. I am not sure if that is me, it, other people, Interweave or all of the above.
OK, class first. Good. I got what I wanted from it, although I have forgotten some of it already, I realised in the middle of last night. Oh, well, no doubt it will return. Retreat sessions - well, I never manage more than two my ageing brain can't seems to cope with the quick turnaround. My session with Elaine Benfatto on tapestry crochet was ace, as I had expected. She is a cool teacher, super person, and I loved the technique. Although it will take me a while - if ever - to manage the trick of having both yarns available on the hand.
Partying was good - some new people, excellent; and most of the usual suspects I have grown to know and love. It is sometimes too hard to catch up with all of them, other stuff gets in the way. I need to work harder on persuading some of them to make it over here, especially as we shall not be going next year.

Market. Strangely quiet. Lots of vendors, and some pretty cool stuff, although I was reasonably restrained. Spindles, of course, including the lovely blue flower Golding. One little Forrester was destroyed after Security went through our bag on the return journey and didn't bother to repack things properly. Everything else arrived safely. I bought yarn this year, unusual for me. I will go through it again soon, and maybe log a list........

The difference was all the political talk. Maybe it was with us being Brits, but everyone seemed to want to talk about the forthcoming election, and all the whyevers and what-ifs. It was very heartening (like "The Frogs" audience) and yes, I do know that we get to meet an unusual subsection of the population, but all the same.....Something about all this doesn't really add up.

Anyway, I have spent the week spinning samples for my class yesterday, and knitting. I actually tried sewing two of the waistcoat strips together experimentally, and it looked good, so I shall press on with that. I am feeling very enthusiastic about some of the yarn and fibre I have brought home with me, and am looking forward to a "normal" (I write that knowingly, but hey! Normal, we ain't!!) week to really get going with stuff again.

And finally - talked to a few people at SOAR about photos, and have a few directions to go in. I will persevere, but I will no longer bleat on about it. One day it WILL happen. Until then - silence.


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

What can I say? I'm home

It seems as though I have only been gone five minutes - or forever. I'm slowly coming around from the effects of travel and jetlag - melatonin is a gift from the goddess, I must say, and makes life a lot easier in transition, but doesn't cure all the pain. Plus, I set out tired, and pretty much stayed that way, one way or another. We do need to learn not to try to cram every moment full on these trips. I did try not to - quite often had full-blown afternoon naps, with snores and everything. But we travelled and did a lot.

I'm not going to get everything down in one session, that would be too big an undertaking in terms of both verbiage and time. I'll try to get most down over the next few days. It was a very interesting trip....

We started out in NYC, which I love and find totally scary at one and the same time. I loved our hotel, which by now will be a pile of rubble - it was being demolished the week after we were there. Probably 1930s, and all the laughter lines were showing. I could see why it had to go, but still feel sad that it should be so. A massive condominium will arise on the site, that is where the money lies. Sigh.
It was right alongside Central Park, and with the windows open for coolth, we could hear all sorts of fascinating sounds. The subway, horses hooves, tour guides, and best of all, an afternoon's worth of classical piano on a keyboard. I'm not sure why the lady in question gave a free concert lasting several hours, but it made my nap on the Saturday a most enjoyable experience.

The Met was lovely. I enjoyed the opera, Otello, a lot, although I do tend to agree with whoever I read that described the Met as "safe". But beautifully sung and staged. And I managed not to totally disgrace myself when the baby chandeliers rose up as the house lights dimmed and the music began - it is such a magic moment!

The next night, we took a chance and went to the Vivian Beaumont to see "The Frogs". I'm so glad we did. Not the greatest of Sondheim musicals, but clever, funny and with such good lighting, particularly the River Styx complete with waterlilies. And the audience reaction to all the anti-Bush references was unexpected and heart-warming. The other thing we both found pretty cool were the frog recordings outside, so subtle that for one brief moment we thought they were for real, until the penny dropped.

We weren't very adventurous with eating places, stayed on Broadway, but had some good food, especially the Indian meal on Saturday night. Subtly different and very, very good.

Sunday found us picking up the hire car. Oh, har de har, WHAT a scam! OK, so we hadn't read the small print at the very end (does anyone?). Dollar (read that again - DOLLAR) have a clause that says that if you do not turn up to get your car within the specified hour, you lose it. We were eight minutes late, by the time we reached the counter, to be told this. Now, I have not been visiting the US for several years without learning a thing or two, So Did Not Take This Lying Down. Mind you - if it was the scam we think, the end result might have been the same, who knows? Now - the reason given for the car not being there ws that they didn't have room to keep it hanging around. OK - so how come they had room for a freakin' van, eh?!? Faced with the choice of trying Avis or Hertz across the street, which would have been even more expensive even if they had a vehicle available, or nothing, we took the van, at half as much again as the car would have been. I am off to write the letter of complaint. Watch this space.

So, off to Zabar's, amazing deli somewhere or other in NYC. Leave the VAN on a parking meter which like all the others around has the red flag up - yup. Get back to a parking ticket. Need to write the letter about that one, too.....

And so, off to the Poconos, a pretty drive and fortunately, uneventful. Of this, more later.

Currently........Back home to find that a phoenix has arisen from the ashes, and there is a new email list packed with old friends, yay.
I finished the first travel sock, only to find it was too short, so had to rrrripp. Did most of the spindling I took with me, finishing off on the new Golding (the blue flower, yum) now that I am back. Lots of ideas for new projects, maybe the logjam is gone. Again, more of this to come.

I need to do a little work - teaching on Friday.


Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Time to get cracking with the packing

(Why do these stupid catchphrases stick in the mind so?) However, it is true that I should be packing, not blogging, but hey, what the hell. I am a grown-up and can do what I like!

So far today I have: printed off the various directions for places/people we want to visit whilst away; captured and taken the mogs up to the cattery, involving loss of dignity and some discomfort to all parties; posted off my application to teach at Convergence 2006 (which will not be successful, but nothing venture nothing gain, and I can just keep sending it in every two years...); seen a dentist person whose only suggestion was to take double the dose of the same antibiotic (and having considered it very carefully, I have decided to try that, but to stop immediately if there are any side effects); potted on some woad seedlings (!!!Amazing!!); found a few silly odds and ends likely to be forgotten like bottle opener, scissors, needles; started some spinning on the new Kundert spindle; cleared off plenty of Lendrum bobbins; made a huge pot of veggie and barley soup using as many bits from the fridge as possible; given what didn't go in to the soup to Heather; downloaded a book from Audible; and phoned my mother (sigh).

I am exhausted just reading that! Actually, sheds some light on The Problem - too many little bitty things that don't hang coherently together. But that is another story, methinks.

I am anxious (very) about going away, simply and solely because of the tooth/antibiotic situation. Other than that, I am excited about going to SOAR and seeing friends; also having a bit more sunlight around, all the usual things. It will be good. It will be good.

One of the reasons for blogging was to concentrate the mind - on lots of things, not just fibre projects. I think it is working. Today's ruminations centre on "well, what DO you want, then?" And chopping up the veggies for the soup, I knew I wanted that - a pot of good soup for supper, no hassles, just good and simple. Time to read good books, and to spin good yarn. To make a few simple but pleasing "things". Friends to chat with. Fresh air, sunshine and frost on the fallen leaves.

Oh, dear, now I am getting way to demanding and fanciful! I had better go, put this to bed for a couple of weeks, pack, spend a little time spinning. I am struggling with some rather compacted cashmere, but I hope it will make a beautiful yarn eventually. It will need dyeing, and will be a challenge to come up with the right colour.

But that is another story.

Oh - and you will notice that there are still no photographs. The battle continues (Why is nothing EVER simple?) I am attempting to get sense out of blogger help, now there's a task......
When I get back, refreshed, renewed, restored......yeah, right.


Monday, September 27, 2004


We went yesterday. I have to say, it was the quietest I have ever known. We had arranged to meet M&R for lunch, actually found ourselves parking two cars apart at more or less the same time. Didn't go round with them, but met up at the pub and spent a very pleasant couple of hours, the food as nice as ever.
Saw several people from Bradford, including the indefatigable Magrat, up there for the third day running. But never did run in to Iris, Eira and Judette, shame.

We did buy a few new dpns, and a Kundert spindle, which is very, very nice. Never can have too many spindles is what I say.......

It was quite cold, very grey, very, very windy. But it didn't rain. Oh - and we did meet a couple of friends from HB, fortuitously I think, as far as Pete was concerned, because he knew that I was looking for the opportunity to Say Something to the chap who was doing a long commentary on sheep and agriculture in general......

I do NOT think it acceptable in a public forum with charity as the focus to rather rudely state that vegetarians are not welcome on his property because not eating meat is ruining the economy of this country or some such stuff. Now, it is perfectly ok to say "I think that people who don't eat meat are wrong, and these are my reasons why", but to imply that they come somewhere in the vicinity of Saddam Hussein for social acceptability is not. I was looking for an opportunity to approach him and say a) You, sir, would be very welcome in my home despite your views because I am more civilized than you and b) I chose not to eat meat not because I think that doing so is inhumane, immoral or whatever, but because I could not tolerate the despicable methods meat producers and the industry in general used, both in terms of animal and human welfare. We suspected he was probably a UKIP supporter, too. (I didn't, btw, disagree with all he was saying by any means. Just didn't like his intolerance and ignorance.)

There were as well a lot of "Liberty and Livelihood" and other slogans around. Another way too simplistic campaign. I don't want them to stop charging around over the fields of landowners who are happy for them to do it on horseback, I can well see the fun in that. I just want them to stop mauling foxes to death in a prolonged and inhumane way. (And to stop lying about that, as well.) I'm trying to remember the other slogan - it may have had something to do with injustice. Excuse me? I need to have that one explained to me. I presume they mean the injustice of me wanting to prevent them from doing something they enjoy, but sorry, that is the nature of society, we cannot just do everything that we feel like doing. I might want to swim in their pool or use their box at the opera. OK, chaps?? I don't think so, somehow!

Woah, a long way from fibre. Well, I did say politics would creep in de temps en temps!!

We leave for SOAR early on Thursday morning. A peaceful silence for a couple of weeks??


Friday, September 24, 2004

Disappeared into the far blue yonder

Is what the post I wrote yesterday did. Heaven only knows why, it really, really wasn't me, blogger or windows did it all by their little selves.
Wot I wote - in a very abbreviated version. Lots of very bad language about uploading photos, basically. Having spent a while with the camera and some of my stuff, still couldn't do it.
I am seeking help (do not say one single word!!!!) and all I can say is "watch this space". Every other blogger in the world can do this, and one day I will be able to as well. She says, feeling totally stupid.

It was Thursday yesterday, I seem to recall. Anyway, the coven met, very pleasantly, and I sat and knitted waistcoat strips. It occurred to me, driving home, that I really should see how sewing them together works before knitting them all - then if it is a total disaster, I won't have invested too much time and effort into the project. It should work, I see no reason why not, if I go slowly and carefully - I need what I think might be called "mattress stitch" (and now having written that, I'm not so convinced) but what I mean is where the pieces lay flat and are joined butted up against one another, rather than oversewn. Well, I know what I mean. I might try that later on.
The little blue hat is progressing, I am doing a crab stitch edging and will then finish off with a multi-coloured trim. I'm not sure...It looks a bit clunky, but crochet often does until completely finished. I'm going to persevere, anyway, too much not finishing or even not starting because of lack of faith in my abilities! I like crochet. I have the urge at the moment to do more of it, hence spinning Freyalyn's orange cheviot as "S" singles. I am a bit afraid that I am not going to have enough of that to make much of anything, but I guess I could ask her to dye me some more.

Oh, well, off to hunt up a few things on Google for me, my class &etc. and to play !capture the picture again for a while?


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

I survived the weekend

Serious applications of a red wine mouthwash seemed to help the abscess, although the dentist today was not convinced. Seemingly the diminution of agony &etc was not due to that but the type of abscess it is. Regardless, a tooth must go. He says. I am going to keep my fingers crossed, but we shall see. Antibiotics for ten days, off just in time to start drinking (in my usual moderate fashion) at SOAR.
Enough of such gruesomeness.
Guild on Saturday was much nicer than usual. A very good speaker, but I didn't do her pm workshop, just sat spinning. Sold appreciable quantities of the Rovings fibre, much to my amazement. So much so that I think it will be worth asking Francine if she will consider doing again. Once a year would be enough, but if it works like it seems to, why not, eh?
My last year's consignment for me has now been spun and washed and dried, and I started sampling. Crochet was a definite no-no, so I cast on for a knitted strip which looked so much better, and right size of needles first go so I am just going with it. I know I want the waistcoat to be constructed from strips of varying width and length, so I thought I might just as well get stuck in and see where it lead. I could even probably manage it on the plane. I would imagine wooden knitting needles will get on ok.
No success with photographs as yet. I am not sure what I am doing wrong, or even if it is actually me - I keep getting an error message. So I might have to uninstall the software and try again. I will get it right one of these days!!


Saturday, September 18, 2004

Oh, f..........

I tried very, very hard to convince myself that it was nothing at all, but.......I can no longer deny that I have toothache and that it Means Something. In fact, I think I have a mega abcess. Poot.
It's around the area of the tooth that I had the super-adhesive filling in three months ago - perhaps I can blame this all on the dentist and not have to pay massive amounts to get it sorted out. Anyway, I have an appointment for Monday, and so have to survive the weekend with the aid of pain kelliers and not worrying too much about possible outcomes. I so rarely have anything much wrong with my teeth, being a good girl and brushing, flossing &etc, it seems unfair. Assuming that I totally ignore the permanent condition of my gums, of course - but we won't go there. Plus, it needs to be sorted out before we go away, because it would count as a pre-existing condition and not be covered by insurance. Basically - oh, buggrit!

So, nice absorbing and soothing activities to distract me! I have finished the fluffy grey scarf - I got several inches done last night at The Coven - all done bar weaving in the two ends, anyway. And I have also finished plying the spindle spun red, blue and yellow roving. What to do with it? Who knows, probably a hat, as I am, as I said, wanting to try crochet hat patterns.

Just at the moment, I am wrestling with myself about the mini-mountain of Rovings colours that I have to hand. I was going to knit a waistcoat, but am being seduced by the notion of the shawl in Knitters, the one that fastens with buttons. It is only a very basic garter stitch triangle, but looks as though it might be a nice compromise for a poncho, which, as we (most of us) agreed last night, do not sit well on those of an ample....amplitude. I.e. big boobs! What was it - belle poitrine, much nicer! Given that I might find that I have huge amounts of Rovings to spin up if I don't manage to sell all that I ordered, and that these are closely related colourwise, so the shawl wouldn't look too STRIPED, which would be hideously naff...I might just succumb. It is such an idiot-proof project that I could even have it done by SOAR.

And speaking of which, I need to start getting organise. Somewhere, I have the wool noils and whatever that Margaret gave me that I want to take to use on the vessel I make. I am still considering using natural shades, with natural coloured embellishment. It would make a change from purple. Or teal.

OK. Now I am inspired to attempt to upload an image, so hold on to your hats. Nothing spectacular, just what I can find already uploaded on to the pc.

Well, that failed. Not my fault. Some glitch with Hello. Back to the drawing board, and watch this space.


Friday, September 17, 2004

A good day to dye number two

Which is, of course, highly inaccurate, as there have been many dyeing days this summer.

Yesterday was a perfect, beautiful day. The sky was very blue, with few clouds, and there was only a light breeze. It wasn't warm - this has now, after all, seamlessly drifted in to autumn, and the quality of the light shows that. But it was glorious, and at one point I sat outside quietly observing everyone else, and it felt like heaven.

The coven has occasional get-togethers, often to dye. Theoretically, this was what we were doing yesterday, but I at least didn't do so very much. I needed to overdye the skeins I dyed with Janet a couple of weeks ago, and that just wasn't practical. I did put some silk and some soy silk into a walnut dyebath, and they have come out quite an interesting colour. I have some thoughts of working up a line in those two fibres to sell alongside spindles, but I need to work some more on my time-management skills........

Freyalyn and I managed NOT to come to blows over whether or not one should use a mordant with alkanet and hibiscus - it is true, what I said to her, that I had got the same colour without that she got with, and that I think water and the pH thereof are important. I do also agree with her that we need some more red in our lives. I have got the turkey red oil to use still - and of course, I still have quite a lot of Ed's cochineal. I know what is going to happen now - I am not going to want to use that all up, but that would be so silly - better by far to make something and see the colour glow. Or colours - I could do a range of little skeins and make a bag (ooh! What a surprise!) But why not, why should bags not be my bag, eh?

We had a visitor at the dye day, and Australian woman from one of the lists, who was very nice and who did beautiful weaving using silk fabric stitched and spiral-cut as weft. Light, lustrous fabrics that she then made up herself into beautifully tailored garments. So clever. What will I ever do that comes close to that? She was brave, too, drove up on her own from Matlock, not on the motorway - we did send her back via the M62/M1. It was nice to meet her. Which reminds me, an old SOAR acquaintance is going to be at Masham, from New Zealand, so that will be fun - I like it when Masham is just before SOAR, kind of gives a foretaste of pleasures to come.

I got the Interweave Crochet mag, and Piecework yesterday. sueb had told me about a cat tapestry cushion in PW, and indeed it is quite cute. And there is tapestry crochet in the other thing, too. I am planning to take Elaine's Retreat session in tapestry crochet, I haven't managed to get my head around it on my own, and she is such a great teacher that I am sure she will sort me out! I am not a huge fan of PW, but this one looks pretty good. Nor so sure about the crochet supplement, though - some quite nice stuff, but very much aimed at the rather younger.

I am being quite (quite) productive. Trying to ply all of the fibre I spindle spun whilst travelling last year, finishing of a commercial yarn scarf in a nice pearl-grey fluffy almost chenille-like yarn - a pressie for the mater for Christmas, I think. I have washed the Rovings Polwarth, and will start sampling for that as soon as it is dry. And I am getting on well with Freyalyn's flaming orange. Also, there were a couple of crocheted hats in the IW thing, and I am going to try using some leftovers to make those - and a rather nice multi-coloured skein I just re-found, hand-painted merino from Royale Hare.

Maybe I am knitting my way out of the Black Hole after all!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Monday is washing day

And indeed is about to be ironing, too. But I suddenly felt it was much more important to catch up the last three days worth of happenings here. Goddess knows why!

Three busy days. Friday was teaching, which meant the topic with the regular class - design boards; the subsidiary topic, in this case sorting a fleece; and one total beginner and three improvers alongside the experienced regular attenders. All went swimmingly, apart from the novice, who seems to be my first failure, in that she did not spin a length of yarn by the end of the day. After lots of successes, I am not going to beat myself up, I just felt sorry for her, but I as yet have no clue what the problem was. Maybe I need to seek advice, as I do hope she will give it at least one more try. But that made the day very tiring, juggling all those balls!

Saturday was a trip to York to see Mama, and then to Leeds for the opera. Only....It didn't go quite like that! We had, fortunately, reached the back gate of Connaught Court, in a queue of slow moving traffic, when the engine just cut out. To cut it all short, the AA turned up very promptly, the sun was shining, and as we were at the back gate, I phoned herself and she scootered down to the back gate for a chat and for me to hand over the things I had as instructed, bought her (choosing lipstick for one's ma is seriously weird, let me tell you!) But it was the fuel pump and unrepairable roadside, so we got a tow to the AA garage and then the guy very kindly gave us a lift to the station. We cancelled the opera, could face chasing off for a train afterwards. So had a takeaway curry - I think someone's hand had slipped with the red food colouring, but tasted ok!

Sunday, and fibre at last! Demonstrating in Bradford, quite good, but it's getting a little old for me, I have been asked about Sleeping Beauty one time too many I think. But it meant I got a lot of spinning done, Freyalyn's dyed roving - I spun the blue-green one very fine, I'm going to make a beaded yarn for the next AH class; and the vivid orange and magenta I fell in love with. That is being spun as a fairly chunky single, S, to crochet. Probably a waistcoat, but I'm not sure yet. Then, in the evening, we started on bagging up the Rovings fibre. It is gorgeous - of course. I would love to sell it, love to get to keep it - so that's ok, then.

OK, pedestrian as all get out, but that's me for the last few days. I need some serious creative time - apart from anything else, I must get going on Pennie's birthday ensemble - I ordered some more black beads online today - it seemed to work, yeah!! Except, could be dangerous....

And so to ironing......

Friday, September 10, 2004

The weatherperson said.....

...That it would be a glorious day today. However, if you bothered to look at the map, that, as usual, only meant the south of England. AsUsual. Humph.
Actually, this morning until about eleven WAS glorious, a little autumnal - its funny how the light changes - but warm and sunny. And then a line of dark cloud blew up, and gradually the rain started, and has kept it up all afternoon.

However - and not to be Pollyanna-ish - it meant that I could, when a bit of time opened up, sit down under the lamp with my beads and not feel that I could and ought to be outdoors. So, I did, and oh, boy, did I enjoy it. What IS the magic of beads? I find beading hugely creative, and also, let's be honest, I love the OTT glittery effects you can so easily create. Spinning used to be more like that for me; I still love it, and can't yet foresee the time when I would want to stop, but beading, I suppose, is as yet the undiscovered country, the uncharted territory

Later...Much much later. Three days to be precise, but I might as well leave in my earlier draft. Where does the time go?????? Well, sometimes, like now, I know but ain't gonna share. So there.
OK, so just time for a quick post. I have been spinning. The Amethyst Polwarth from Rovings from last year's SOAR market. It is lovely, but not the easiest to spin, it has got a bit compacted, I think. The idea is to put it together with previous batches of loosely related colourways and do a vest. We shall see.
I also spent a little time back with the Black Hole. I really am going to finish it, if nothing else it might get the business of knitted sculpture out of my head. But today was final last-minute preparation for tomorrow's class. I now have what can just about be called a "design" or "mood" board, and indeed, I may even have a project out of it. Depends whether or not knitting in the round allows the bias of stocking stitch singles in both S and Z to show. I am going to have to sample, dammit! And, I finished the handout all about sorting a fleece. I suppose I practice what I preach - I do write a mean handout, though!
And the final news for today is that it looks as though I have a workshop booking for next year, the first. The funny thing is, it is for Mid Lancs, talk about right back where I started from! But it will be nice to visit, and see if the lunches are as good as they used to be - I'm sure they are! I am not certain yet if it is to be natural dyeing or improving spinning. I guess I hope the latter - but it doesn't really matter.
Time to go to bed - seeing as how the felines had me up at 6 along with the master this am, cleaning up - in my case - after he had rescued a rabbit from the downstairs loo where it had gone to ground. Sounds as though it might have survived - hope so.
Oh - and today was the second of two really lovely days weatherwise. Seemingly, that's all we get. Ah well.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Back...In more senses than one

By which I mean that my dam' back is still playing up a bit, not helped by the slab of granite our holiday cottage owners laughingly called a bed. The shower was a bit approximate, too. And it rained nearly all the time. Oh, well, nice to see DMIL, and we went to some good pubs, including the Lanlivery one I have been wanting to get to for ages, and it was very good.

And now we are home, and after a funny couple of days, the weather has settled for a bit into lovely sunshine. Better late than never, to post yet another cliche (makes mental note to Do Better.)

I have finished a bag, apart from throwing it through the washing machine. It looks quite nice, although the moss stitch border at the top is as yet a bit bulbous and floppy. Hopefully a mild felting will improve that. It is, none the less aFinished Object. The black hole is still on the needles with miles to go, but I do have ideas for it, and will finish it. And I have started a smaller knitted "thing" to be entitled "Madder&Madder".

Apart from that, a successful dyeing day with Janet on Monday, which inspired me to do some more yesterday, for a "Chinese kite" coat or waistcoat or shawl. Still have the indigo part of that project to do. And then I am going to dye the silk I bought at The Skep just before going away. Not sure what that will be for, although it would be nice for it to be "stock" should I ever get a website! Might try eBay, I suppose....


Friday, August 20, 2004

We're all going on a summer holiday...

Well, 'im and me are. And if you can call it summer. Rain, rain, thunder, wind, rain, thunder. I have packed large numbers of books, much knitting and spinning, and am sitting here eyeing up the beads I am playing with at the moment. Wheels, charka, spindle - check. Sad, or what?

There are signs that the black hole may be shifting a llittle. I was finally able to admit that the little bag I had cast on wasn't working and go for a simpler one that will. Then yesterday, I managed to do something constructive with some beads - I have some gorgeous square purple ones that I have been trying to design a free-form peyote bracelet around, failing, failing. yesterday, I just got stuck in, and although it it too soon to tell, I think it might just work. I am also well aware that I have not one but two birthdays coming up in the next few months that I could bead pressies for - and I still have umpteen things for me in mind. I found a nice sunburst design on the web yesterday that will be great for the in-your-face red and gold amulet bag I have been wanting to do since the Bead Fair in April.

Then also yesterday, I got to talking to someone about more spindles to consider having to sell, another makers. And I am going to do it, what the hell. That started me thinking about marketing, and I then had the bright idea of doing some of my own dyeing - natural - on silk tops, etc and also on soy silk, which looks cool dyed. Then get to one or two places....I CAN do this! So, having a day out today, I went with the usual suspects to a vendor I hadn't used before, and got some good-priced silk (yes, I know I have oodles in the stash, but...) I need to get some soy silk, and I am also intending to check out some possible suppliers for "different" finbres, maybe merino and tencel.

I am aware that this is all very fine and large, but it is not me being creative. I still have work to do on that. I am hoping that a restful week away in Cornwall will be A Good Thing - well, I am sure it will be. After we have spent a hellacious day on our lovely overcrowded, road-work infested motorway system - but you can't have everything.

Back in a week!


Saturday, August 14, 2004

Don't monkey with me, dearie

Which means that I had a brush with this "monkeycom" thing. Being pretty non-technical, I know very little about these things, but when a little box that I hadn't requested popped up on my screen yesterday saying something about monkey/munky, I didn't like it. Shut it off quick and hoped for the best....but today, although I could get to my email, I wasn't getting on to the net anywhere at all. This rang huge alarm bells, so I ran security checks, looked at my firewall &etc - deleted pretty much everything nonessential and blocked this 'ere "monkeycom". And now everything looks fine again. But I've tried to find out more about it and can't. Anyhow, time to update the old anti-virus and run a scan on one of the free online sites. Can't hurt.

All on a par with the overall down-ness of this week. Combine the dreadful weather, a birthday and a totally failed garment (plus some other stuff which I won't go in to now) and life has seemed a bit of a black hole. So...(and now I am really losing it) I have decided to knit one. A black hole, I mean. I have some nice very dark brown yarn (that's as black as it gets with sheep), I've started with an i-cord, am moving on to dpns and will end up with a circ. Not sure how large to go - depends on how ridiculous I am feeling. At the end, the live stitches will go on to silver wire, perhaps with some beads, and I quite fancy a trail of beads disappearing inside it. who knows, it just might work. Well, its inspiration, of a sort.

I can't decide - am I really incapable of producing anything good? (Let us please leave aside the philosophical arguments about just what is "good", eh?) I make the double layer bags and no-one but me likes them. I have hideous failures by anyones standards, like the waistcoat. I can't judge my own stuff at all, and no-one else seems to really like it....what can a poor girl do? Start producing black holes, that's what .

Further steps towards photographs - downloaded all the stuff on the camera. No time now until we get back from Wells (groan).


Thursday, August 12, 2004

Its my birthday

And yet again, it is raining with a monsoon-like intensity. Which it did yesterday to such an extent that Crimsworth Dean beck was flowing so fast and full that the rocks in the stream-bed were shifting. The noise was amazing, as was the sight of the trees shuddering every time a rock crashed into one of them.

Anyway, to today and to fibre. Groan. I finally finished the garter stitch waistcoat for the second time, and just as before it is awful. Awful. What I have learned: never, ever again be tempted to do an all-in-one side-to-side garment. It Does Not suit my weird body shape. I suppose if I get that out of the whole sad experience, then that will be worth something.

I'm going to backtrack a little. I actually discovered this deeply depressing and annoying fact yesterday. And I also yesterday went to an exhibition at the Bankfield called, IIRC, Through the Surface. Interesting, that, that I can't remember. I was very uninspired, in the main. The word that kept coming in to my mind was "sterile". This exhibition has had a lot of very favourable publicity. It is a series of collaborations, and the results are supposed to be textiles. We - I went with a friend - spent ages staring at the pieces, and did, I suppose, come up with some favourable responses in some ways, but by and large were left unmoved. Except at the very end, when I turned to leave one gallery and realised that there were some amazing shadows being cast. Don't ask me what that means!

But funnily enough, some of the pieces have fed into a train of thought which has been chugging along for a while. Deconstruction was significant, and I kept thinking about Alice's deconstructed socks, but it did lead me to think about this crazy idea that I have for a piece for next year's sculpture trail. I had been trying to come up with some posey title for what would basically just be a large knitted - thing - and "Construction/deconstruction" might just fit the bill. As soon as the weather stops acting like Florida in midsummer, I will start searching for locations and images.

As for the waistcoat, it is now thoroughly deconstructed and is going to be reincarnated as at least two shoulder bags and just possibly - a black hole. I have a silly idea glimmering. and if my sensible, traditional ideas are not working out, maybe it really is time to try the crazy artsy-fartsy ones. Or alternatively, half a bottle of one of my birthday present bottles of Prosecco is having a little too much of an influence.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

A good day to dye.....

OK, so that is no way original, or indeed even funny anymore. if it ever was. but after a day spent in an ill-ventilated room chivvying students around steaming dyepans, the brain ain't up to anything much better than that.
Went the day well? In a lot of ways, yes. I was pleased with how I taught the class, and everyone was pleased with the range of colours we got. There were only six people today, and they didn't all know one another, which may have made a difference. Nine or ten highly enthusiastic rag-ruggers egging one another on is one thing - I felt I had to push these six a little. They were all really nice, and seemed to enjoy what we were doing. But the weather was against us. Only I could end up teaching two natural dye classes with no access to outdoors and only one tiny opening window on two of the hottest days of the summer. All in all, I am quite well pleased with the two classes, though, hope they ask me to do more.

The boiling brain has come up with one or two notions - one being to buy some more of the stainless steel bowls from Ikea. They make great dye pans, whatever, but they sit one inside the other, and it would be so much easier to transport them rather than a motley selection as at present. another thing is that I do not need to take as many draining devices - there is never room for more than two people at a sink, anyway.
It has also served to rekindle my enthusiasm for natural dyeing. Not that it ever totally dwindled, just diminished a bit. Now I am fired with enthusiasm for all sorts of things. Of which more on another occasion. For now, just what am I going to do with a large bag full of leftover sample skein-bits, eh?

I have, btw, photographs. Just need the oomph to download them to the pc, then find out how to work the software to get them up here......but first, a nice large glass of white wine. Or two.


Thursday, August 05, 2004

I still seem to be here....

Despite forgetting my username. So I had to change my password, which is a pain. Ah, well, one of these days soon, I will accept that the memory ain't as good as it should be!

I wish to report that I have finished spinning the llama and silk that I brought back from Colorado last month. There was about a pound of it, and it is very nice, even if substandard for the Rocky Mountain Llama Fiber Pool! I also have a whole batch of very nice alpaca spun up and the intention is to dye it all with indigo, and make yet another waistcoat.

Following on from the brightly coloured shawl (yes, a picture would be good here, just be patient!), I have "kite" shapes in mind - not the pointy ones, square or rectangular ones, with long strips coming off them. It occurs to me that I have been fascinated with strips, streamers, slits and so on for ages. Time to really get to work on it.

Now, I need to vent a bit, and here is as good a place as any. It is the Association of guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Exhibition at the moment. I just heard last night that the work of a friend of mine has been refused, and I just can't believe it. She won a place in the cat=walk fashion show at Convergence, and a special award for the excellence of her handspinning. And back home, what? Nothing. I have seen the pieces in question, and they are exquisite, superb craftspersonship. Whoever our selectors were - well, they have rocks in their collective heads.

So, shoot me!

Today's the day........ finally do what I have twitched on about for ages, and get started with the blogging.
Why? Goddess knows. Actually, part of the reason is to set out publically some of the notions I come up with about possible projects so that I might actually DO some of them.
So, nag me. Assuming that anyone actually finds and reads this one day, if you see that I have put an idea in to print, get on my back. What? How's it going? Have you finished it yet? If not, why not? And so on, get the picture. Only, nag nice, I occasionally bite

First promise. I WILL take photographs, and I WILL learn how to insert them into blog.

(Did I say when? But I will.)

I should have said, of course - this is a fibre blog. I work with fibre. Fleece, silk, cotton. whatever. You name it, I spin it. It's after that the problems occur. I DO start things, less often finish them, even more rarely, like them. It is going to be different from here on in - well, a little bit anyway.

I dye stuff, too. Most often with natural dyes, which I will bring up here from time to time. I would have started this blog on 1st August, but for the small matter of a workshop I was teaching yesterday and was, as usual, panicking about. It Went Well. Actually, very well, best yet. Partly because the participants were textile people and well motivated, but partly because I Did A Good Job. (There, another reason to blog, to be my own cheerleader.) I've got another one similar on Saturday, and I Will remember to take the digital camera, and post pictures - at some point.

Just to warn you - I knit, crochet, felt and (barely) weave as well. I will bore the world rigid about all of these things and more as time goes by.