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....