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?