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.