Sunday, January 30, 2005

And trailing in at the back....

No, I shouldn't put myself down! I got there, didn't I? Strictly speaking, getting - I still haven't got it all sussed out, some things are not working that should be, but....I have photos, finally.

This at the expense of fibre stuff, I should add. It all takes too damn long. Never mind, this will be the additional incentive to keep slogging on.

Last evening to the Opera with His Lordship, to a fine performance of "Don Giovanni" by Herr Mozart. It was, too, a cracking good one, with a marvelous Don, whose acting ability was as good as his voice, and made you see both the charisma and the sheer wickedness of the character. Quite an interesting modern staging, but which neither added to nor subtracted from the performance. All the singers had excellent voices, though none could act as well as DG - but well enough.

I love opera - it satisfies on so many levels. I particularly like opera sung in English (I can hear the loud and rapid indrawing of breath from certain quarters as I write!) Opera is both music and drama, and I - one - needs to know the plot to fully appreciate it. Likewise, it is intended to be a performance, and whilst listening to discs is a fair substitute, what you get is immaculate sterility. You simply cannot beat being there and getting the thing warts and all. If the hero tenor misses a note and recovers, that is part of the experience for me - I can then admire his skill in the recovery. On the other hand, when Mimi or Violetta achieves that intense, vibrant rendition, and you are in the audience for that, - wow. Examples only - and sorry about the rambling. I have enthusiasms other than fibre and beads!!


Just to prove........

Just to prove........, originally uploaded by gw.

.....that we had snow on Christmas Day!

This is the view down the lane looking towards our cottage - the gable end on the right in the middle of the photo.

So, not so very much of the white stuff, but enough. As far as I can recall, the first white Christmas I have known, too.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Sweetie bag

Sweetie bag, originally uploaded by maryplain.

I bought these silly multi-coloured beads in Denver last summer. A few
nights ago, just before going to sleep, I realised what I wanted to do with them!

Friday, January 28, 2005

Ee, by gum

Such a strange feeling - I have been read! So all of a sudden, I am real. Well, in the cyber sense, anyway. Let there be no doubt, I do know what reality is, and that I am - flaky I may be, but I have always managed to keep at least one toe on the shores of the here-and-now. But thank you, my dear commenters, your good wishes are appreciated, and any insults will be taken under advisement and dealt with according to my mood at the time ........

I have been out and about all over the place socialising this week, to the great detriment of any work I might have wanted to do. I did finish the sweetie bag, and I really pleased with it, it turned out just as I had wanted. Other than that, I have been beavering away (sorry, couldn't resist) at les projets, ie the now-lap rug (nearly done) and the cotton and silk. I will try to finish off both over the weekend.

My Timbertops Leicester is ordered. It is to be oak, double treadle and with ratios of 6, 8, 12 and 14. One or two persons have indicated that I will need higher ratios than that - well, maybe, but I am not certain. I still, after lo these many years, have a tendency to overtwist rather than under. We shall see - I can always get more whorls if I need to. This little beauty should appear in the summer some time, and after all these years of spinning and with several other perfectly adequate wheels to go at I shouldn't be excited, but I am. I tried the Leicester, with a right hand side flyer, at SOAR, and it is quite delightful. Shiver.

Any intentions of slaving over lots of lovely prose no have to go out the window as the DSM has arrived home and we need to go pick my car up from the garage. Damn. (Ill explain that at a later date.)


Monday, January 24, 2005

Blue sky!!

Well, there was this morning, anyways. It was such a lovely morning, very cold, quite a bit of frost and ice around, and this pretty sky. But by lunchtime, the cloud cover had descended again. However....they have shifted the position of the possible snow, so we might get some of the white stuff. I know I am such a child about it, but I still love snow. We seem to have had a bit more this year than some, but never to any real extent, just a light powdering. Maybe this time?

The house looked so dingy when I got back from York yesterday - I think in the main because M is a pretty fanatical housecleaner, not to mention having the bijou residence looking like something out of Homes&Gardens (except that there isn't one of the latter). The effect, though was to spur me on to cleaning something - the porch and kitchen, in fact. So now I feel all virtuous and am about to dive into some beading, having knitted for a while over lunch. (Last couple of mitred squares on the mini-afghan! Probably. Next step is to put all the triangles on to three sides, and to then see what yarn is left. But I think the end is nigh.....)

In between writing paragraphs of this, I am attempting to phone Timbertops to finalise the order for my wheel...I desperately need to get it all set up, so I know how much it is going to actually be and more importantly so that everything is in place to compensate for not going to SOAR (Sad, sad, sad.) It's a really good trade-off - oh, yes it is! But their number is constantly engaged. Ah, well, keep trying. Watch this space.


Sunday, January 23, 2005

Busy, busy

York on Friday, first to visit Mama. It really isn't too bad just sitting and chatting, and I get to knit. It always seems so bizarre, I get the knitting out, socks at the moment in brightish rainbow multi, not actually dyed by me this time (spun from Royal Hare merino, I love Karen's stuff and always stock up at SOAR) Anyhow, nothing is ever said, no "what the ..." or "gosh that's nice/awful/whatever" Just never commented on. Weird. Still, she is as ok as can be expected, given that she is pretty lonely, all her friends left in Norfolk and no new ones in York. I'll be very good and go again soon, but first to Cornwall to visit ma-in-law.

So, spent the night with M&R prior to going on the beading course in Malton with M. The course was good, herringbone was not difficult, and it was fun just to spend a day beading, even if the place we were in was chilly in the extreme. Gave me the excuse to keep jumping up and down, just to stir the blood up a bit! So - now I have three beading projects on the go, the watch, the sweetie bag and now this herringbone rope, which I will finish, I quite like it. Not exactly as the tutor designed it, but, hey, creativity is good, right? I was very good and didn't buy too much, just a couple of little pots of beads, some pretty blue seed beads and a little purple mix (oh, so predictable!) And some little silver leaves, which I think will make an extremely nice delicate bracelet or necklace - oh, and a chunk of green stuff, well, two, one for me and one for Freyalynn. Well, it is green.......oops, forgot the pau shell pendant. None of it cost a lot....saving up for Cornwall, and then Harrogate at the end of March.

Spent chat time knitting on the - ahem - afghan. It is going to look quite nice, although probably not large enough to be dignified with the name. How about "lap rug"? Yes, that sounds better! However, it dawns on me that when it is done, I have to stop pratting about and do something for real. I have had an idea for a wedding present for L&M - a felted vessel. That needs to go on the drawing board. But then....aaargh. Terrifying.

Sorry to bring this up again, but the project for this week is to have another go at photographs. I will upload something to whatsitcalled - Photobucket (surely not??) and if that fails, set up a link to an AOL album. To spur me on, I have just taken a couple of shots of the amulet bag I made for Pennie - need to have a record, anyway. Surely this time....


Wednesday, January 19, 2005


Just got an email from one of the supposed French crew, who is dropping out. Not only am I cheesed off about it, but I know someone else who will be even more so and guess who will have to pick up the pieces. Thing is, I am the realistic one, and I know that when people jump enthusiastically on to an idea, they do not necessarily translate that into action. So I keep part of my own enthusiasm reined in....but, basically, buggrit.

I suspect that the entire joint enterprise is about to go down the tubes - maybe, just maybe not, but I ain't gonna hold my breath. I feel sad about it, because we aren't going to SOAR this year, and I'm going to miss the people and the buzz like crazy. But, that's life, and ya gotta live it. Him and me will have a fun trip come what may - or if we don't then there is some need for drastic action!

I'm all set up for York this weekend, I'm looking forward to it. I enjoyed the previous beading class, and this one will be a lot better, I think, even if harder work! I started the multi coloured funny-shaped amulet bag finally, after several false starts - I do wish I could get going with peyote without all this angst. I think it is going to look outrageous and pretty - just like moi!


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

If at first....

I wrote a lovely stream of consciousness post yesterday afternoon, entitled Carpe Diem. Prompted by the sudden death of someone in our Guild, not a friend, but we had only just been talking to him on Saturday....seize it and use it, amongst other stuff, I said. I'll never recapture it. Must be somewhere lurking on my hard drive, I guess, but Blogger ate it somewhere between here and publication. Sigh. It's always the best stuff that goes......

Whether it was that or not, I don't know, but in the interval between head hitting pillow and actually falling asleep, I saw a beaded thing. An amulet bag, but a slightly different shape, with ditto fringing. Using some multi coloured beads I bought a string of last summer and some ditto (mot du jour?) crystals in three sizes. So - drop everything and start it. Why the hell not?

It has snowed again today. I do wish we could have a real snow, an overnight snowfest, several inches lying by morning. See the footsteps kind of snow, deep and crisp and even - well, I'm not so fussed about the even, but imagine it, glowing white and frosty cold, boots crunching in the gleaming icing sugar. May never see that again. But - this morning while I was having breakfast, the sun appeared over the hill and shone straight in to the room - great! Its back! Some things, for now, remain the same, and beautiful every time.

Just spent an hour working hard on the cotton and silk. I've pretty much got the hang of it now, can crank it out quite quickly. You would think that it would mean that I wasn't enjoying the process, but in fact, speed spinning has its own joys. The superfast hum of the flyer, and the whipping back and forth of my drafting hand - I like the feel of the skill that takes. The yarn is actually quite nice, too, and not as uneven as I had feared. Now I have to be deciding what to dye it with. I should like to be brave....


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Coffee in the afternoon

Usually, I don't. Drink coffee in the afternoon, I mean. But H arrived earlier than maybe, very upset over some bad news (doesn't touch me directly, but, oh, really bad news in her context) so I made coffee for both of us, and you know, it is sometimes not such a bad thing!

I have drunk coffee in the afternoons, years ago when visiting Germany. Kaffee und Kuchen. Milky coffee and luscious cakes. I think the Europeans do life better than we do. We are so damn Protestant and uber-virtuous (something doesn't sound right....??) but think about it. Buttoned up, tightarse, Scroogey, its-a-sin-to-enjoy-yourself-too-much Brits. Grrrr.

Now, just where did that particular rant come from, eh?

I am actually feeling pretty good today, despite the usual dank, grey outthere. But - but I have just looked out of the window, and at ten to four, it is still daylight, and that despite (see above). The year has turned!! It is always right about now that I first really see it, and it always makes me feel that I can survive the rest of the winter. And today I feel like a crocus that is just coming up through the earth and could turn in to a wonderful purple spear at any moment.

Now, there's a thought to conjure with........

One reason for the feelinggoodness is that I have nealy finished fettling all the Guild stuff to hand over onSaturday. I was actually quite surprised, I hadn't done such a bad job of keeping on top of it after all, and it came together with the minimum of angst. I can feel the clouds lifting with every sheet of paper I tote. I don't really understand why it has borne down on me to the extent that it has, but there we go. So, resolution number one (for real). Never, ever again agree to Be Involved. I mean it. Really and truly. I Am Done. Paid My Dues. Right? Right.

And number two, from the recent trip to the supermarket. Smile at those who are most annoying you. I mean that one an' all.

At present, my nightowl personality is trying to reassert itself over the imposed lark. So, I am not always getting to sleep straight away. Last night, I lay there until 12.15, then gave up and got up. Spent an hour beading, which was a very good use of the time. God, I love beading! I've gone back to the freeform peyote piece using the large purple square beads that I was working on before I started doing Pennie's pieces. It was going to be a bracelet, but I keep looking at it and thinking that it would make a super art piece on a silk paper or felt background. And I need a new watch...

gw (or Pollyanna - she's back!!)

Monday, January 10, 2005

Displacement activity

I am supposed to be doing a hundred and one things, with a very tight deadline on all of them - so, I have just had a swifto cruise through most of my favourite blogs, for starters. Not a lot new from most folk - maybe they are more effective at actually doing the things they are meant to be doing...One person tells of identifying a Knitters Against Fun Fur group - have to confess, I rather like it, as long as it isn't taken seriously. I've done a scarf or two, and a very cute little bag, at least it will be when I get the lining in . Speaking of which, I bought a skein of very pretty, rather pricey Colinette viscose chenille, which has speed knitted into a long skinny scarf over the last couple of days - just needs tassels now, might do that tonight.

The cotton and silk is spinning up ok, now that I have set my mind to not worrying about it being consistent. I'm likely to indigo dye it, probably deliberately unevenly, and then do a very simple moss stitch scarf. Should do the trick, maybe?? What else is on the go, needles, wheels, whatever? Well, the waistcoat is now no longer suffering from an identity crisis and is an afghan. What is more, I have decided that it is not to have fringe, but a border all the way around of little triangles. Don't ask me why - it just it just spoke to me. Socks still stalled - might have a bash later. Oh - and the left-over madder residues from last year's workshops now has fibre and a silk scarf lurking in the depths. The colour was coming up a rather pretty old rose at first, but there must be some yellow left in there, as it is gradually becoming more orange. An interesting experiment, anyway.

The Pat Green carder from Loom Exchange is not going to happen, sadly. I couldn't quite bring myself to buy it sight unseen, and the owner seemed reluctant to ship it up here anyway. I did a quick look on the internet, and the Deb's Delicate is not as expensive as one might think, so I might go that route - or look at Ashford and Louet. I dunno - I really fancied a Pat Green.

Oh - and I have a speaking engagement booked for March...2006!!! Natural dyes. Every little helps!

Must go do some real work. (Repeat as necessary.)


Friday, January 07, 2005

The hectic round

Life! At the moment! Oh, not so bad, but a slew of visitors, for NYD (two lots) and the evening after, which really is worth a blog entry in itself but I don't have the time to do it at the moment.

sueb arrived from Oxford on Tuesday, which is nice, but it isn't then easy to slip away for the time it takes to record in the usual deathless prose all the doing and ramifications &etcs. We had a good day out on Wednesday, visiting a fibre store and adding to the respective stashes - shame on me, so early in the year, and having just tidied up the existing mountain, realising just how much is lurking in there. But I really could not resist a little luscious cashmere, some wonderful merino and silk and one or two other things. Including a quantity of soy silk that I want to dye naturally for Woolfest.....

So, yesterday, in a moment of confusion and madness, I do something truly stupid and grab hold of a very hot pan support, without benefit of oven gloves. What I was thinking of, I really don't know. However, amazingly, I seem to have got away with it - I did move like greased lightening to drop it, turn to the tap that was already running, and stick it under icy cold water until I couldn't stand the pain of that any longer, and then Sue made me sit holding ice in a cloth for ages. And it has worked! Hardly a mark, and virtually no pain, only in I grip anything too vigorously, so I have a large bandage to remind me not to. I do feel and awful fraud, though.

I am spinning - and was able to a little last night even with the silly bandage - some cotton and silk for a birthday scarf for Margery. I don't think I like cotton and silk too well, can't get it to come out even no way no how. So plans for a fine two-ply to knit lace have been ditched, and a pattern that enhances uneven yarn needs to be found/devised.

And - I have very nearly finished the amulet bag for Pennie. It looks OK, I think, now that the strap is on. I just have to reinforce that somewhat, and I think it will do. Then back to the purple bracelet I was doing, maybe, or a new watch band, which I do rather desperately! And once the Guild secretaryship is out of the way, I am good to go. Ye-haw, or something similar...