Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bright lights, big city

In this instance did not particularly go to this baby's head.

The DSM had to do a day trip (do those 60s songs never stop reverberating around in our heads?) to the north east, and felt like company on the ride. So I went along to revisit the home of my alma mater. Which has long since been subsumed through a number of administrative changes into one of the new universities but was a mere 'umble college when I was there. Didn't try to track it down.

Didn't really track anything down. Whisked in to the city centre on the wonderful, I have to say, Metro system, debouched straight in to enclosed, artificial world of Shopping. Well, if you were that way inclined. Personally, I could find very little that any sane person might care to buy. A handful of paperback novels to read on my hols (yes, I am off again), a new t-shirt, an ostrich feather and some sequins.......

You know all those visions of the future, from Metropolis to the Matrix? It has arrived.

For some unaccountable reason (called a husband, I think) I have never really visited in any real sense one of these 'ere new-fangled shopping whatsits - malls, I guess even we call them. Huge, cavernous cathedrals of commerce, but with warrens of tunnels, strange lighting and several different boothettes selling what is supposed to be food (although I was slightly tempted by Baskin Robbins.) And here I was with several hours to kill until I could reverse my journey and connect with the DSM. This could, I thought, even be fun. Having lead such a sheltered life, I had no idea of the reality.

Having in the first hour had my lunch and made my purchases, I then found myself....stuck. There was nothing remotely interesting to even look at, let alone buy. Well, the gas range cooker for £1,500, but it was a bit heavy to carry. Ditto even the towels and bedding that was pretty cool. So I wandered until footsore, and then bar-hopped. Coffee-shop hopped, actually. A retail failure, an unsuccessful citizen who remainedtotallyy unmoved by the siren calls of "buy, buy, buy."

I thought I could shop for England. And so I could in bookshops, yarnshopse, bead shops, fibre shops, even clothes shops of a certain kind. But 90 percent of what is on offer out there, even with a clear run and a credit card, leaves me cold. Why I hadn't realised it before, I cannot say. I can only think that I bought in to the glitter and never before had time to look below the surface, whisked past the temples as I had always been. Thescaless are lifted from my eyes!

The ostrich feather and the sequins....the friend that I had lunch with today blenched and refused to hear what I could possibly want them for. But fear not, these were a fibre-related purchase. I am intending to do some funky yarns with the AH lot, and these are a start on collecting materials. I am going to do Art Yarn and make my fortune. Not.

I still am not getting around to writing about cotton, and no time now, supper calls. Saturday morning at sparrow fart we are off to Cornwall, so it may well be after that, I will have sampled some more by then perhaps. But to prove that I do have a fibre life, a photo.


Not bad. Could be better, but not bad.

More later. Be good while I'm gone.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

This is grannyw, how may I help you?

Entirely due to my own desire for publicity, self-aggrandisement, notoriety, whatever you like to call it, my number is Out There. By which I mean that it is not unknown for the phone to ring at any time of the day or night with a query for me to answer. (So, I have to know that I exist somehow, eh?)

On more than one occasion - and I am shamelessly bragging here, no bones - the DSM has actually been reduced to silence by the sheer brilliance of my ability to trouble-shoot spinning problems over the phone. I think he has delusions that I could set up a spinning-related premium number service, and make our fortunes. Or, rather,in my view, not.

So, this morning, the phone rings. (Have you cat-people ever noticed how a ringing phone is a signal for the many hundred cats in any household to instantly wake up, leap off the bed and thunder to a position half-way down the stairs, crashing to a halt at that point and stretching their bodies out so that you cannot get past without risking their and your life and limb? Or, if downstairs, some similar scenario involving chairs, knitting, whatever? H'mm.)

But I digress. Picks up phone, answers in approved 1950s, mother-trained fashion with number. "Is that mumble mumble?" This sounds sufficiently like my name for me to answer in the affirmative. "I believe you supply replacement parts for spinning.....machines." No, I say, I do sell hand spindles, and teach, after a fashion, but not spare parts for wheels. "OH. Well, perhaps you could help me. I need of those things made of wire that you use for fishing your yarn through." Ah, yes, I riposte sagely, you mean an orifice hook. "A what??" Repeat from me. "Oasis? hook? Could you spell that please."


"Oh. Oasis. Well, can you tell me where I could get one?" I point out that there are quite a few suppliers. But - and here comes the reply of great genius guaranteed to impress any husband.

"You could find a paper clip, and straighten it out all but for one little curve, and then you could use that."

"Oh. Thank you very much for your help."

This was meant to be an essay on forays in to cotton spinning territory, but that will have to wait.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Three very loud cheers for Mrs Hartford

I had a newcomer in my AH class today.

"Have you spun before?" says I.

"Not really" replies she. "I did learn years ago when I was ten years old, but I haven't since then."

This was a young woman, I really wouldn't like to guess her age but she has children at junior school or even younger. Having some belief in the riding a bicycle theory of non-forgettery, I bypassed the spindle and sat her at the class wheel. She set to treadling impeccably. During the course of the day, she whipped through short draw, spinning from the fold, point of contact, plying from the lazy kate and also from a centre pull ball. We had a side trip in to carding, but not hugely successfully as she had fleece that also gave me another object lesson for the group, bright yellow with canary stain as it was, hideously short stapled and with a nasty break in it. She dabbled with the alpaca that the rest were enjoying, but not in the least surprisingly, was a little daunted. She - and I - had a great time.

Towards the end of the day, I asked her about her much earlier spinning experience. It turned out that she had been taught by a teacher at her primary school, who was passionate about crafts. This same woman - Mrs Hartford - had also taught her to cook. I just felt - well, pleased. Those of us who sometimes demonstrate to or actually teach young children the rudiments of spinning often say to one another that we know full well that they will most likely not go on with it for long, but the hope is that one day, just maybe, they will remember that early pleasure and seek out the opportunity to take it up again. And here was somebody doing just that. Sometimes it really does come back both buttered and jammed.

Of course, there has to be a little rain as well....I have another not-so-newcomer, who has been struggling, and today I finally twigged that her struggles were in large part caused by her wheel. I had thought I had got it set up for her, but I had not realised - and she had not told me - that after a very short spell of treadling, the whole thing would just stop functioning, the yarn would simply not draw in. I spent ages on it, sorted out some of the problems, but not that big one. My great difficulty is that her wheel is a Keneila, and I have absolutely no experience of them, and they do have a somewhat different tensioning and flyer set-up.

So if anyone speaks Keneila fluently.........

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

More on alpaca, and other things

In exulting over my samples and their preparation, I realised subsequently that I had forgotten to give any information about the actual spinning of the fibre. Oops. Maybe not so organised after all......

I did experiment around a bit, but I found that good old short draw gave me the results that I liked best, even with the carded preps. The rolags, because of the nature of the soft, fine, floppy fibre, were not such - I just had very unformed "batts" - so long draw was not an option. I did try point of contact, but felt that this accentuated the slight hairiness of the finished yarn. It seems to me that alpaca, being a hair fibre, does leave its little ends sticking out of the end product. I do apologise for the technical language I am using here! This is not like the halo of mohair, or even Wensleydale, but is probably on the same spectrum.

I do also have issues as yet unresolved with point of contact. I do use it extensively as a spinning process, it is fast, efficient and comfortable. This can either be simply from a mass of fibre, or from the fold. Although I don't find the "fold" all that comfortable to maintain, and generally just hold the folded fibre loosely in my back hand. This would also have the effect of making the "hairiness" even more noticeable, it seems to me.

So short draw it was, fairly tightly controlled for the more worsted-like yarns, looser for the carded. It is all hard to describe with words - I need to get the DSM to take some photos, then I can do a whole series on drafting techniques.

I also forgot to put something in for scale with the notebook. Magnus opus - not. Its about four inches square.....

OK, other stuff. On Yahoo's Natural Dyes list today, a url worth noting. I wish I still was doing my regular trips to Norfolk, this would have been right on the doorstep!

Then, the joys of veg boxes. I get one delivered weekly. I wasn't making the effort to get to the organic veg shop in town often enough, so this plugged the gap. Sometimes, the veg look way too good to eat......


This is a bit fuzzy, but a source of design inspiration none the less. And drawing back.....


Oh, yum.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

On spinning alpaca

I have been having an in-depth look at alpaca these last few days. Over the years, I have spun quite a quantity of commercial alpaca tops, and by and large have got on very well with it. Once or twice, I have bought magnificent fibre in the States, usually called something exotic like "Royal baby", or "suri". Now, I do know what suri is - but one wonders, one really does, about some of the rich and famous......

Sorry. This was meant to be a serious post.

From time to time, what you might call local alpaca has come my way, I have even been asked to spin it for the proud owners, and I have samples and refused. On the grounds that I really couldn't do a good job. The samples always came out like wire no matter what I did. Obviously due to my deficiencies as a spinner. I asked advice, from various quarters including the internet, and often got the answer - blend with fleece. I would never get a good result if I didn't. Yet somehow, I remained unconvinced.

Last year, I acquired quantities of the stuff, seduced by the gorgeous colours, particularly the almost blond, and a pretty dark silver grey. Which I hid in my stash and quietly ignored. After all, I couldn't spin alpaca fleece, only tops.

Then, my AH class, who had also benefitted from the source of the alpaca, started demanding as indeed was their right, that I should lead a session on what to do with it. Hence my work over the last few days. And I am so glad they did demand. It turns out that (what a surprise) it wasn't actually my fault at all. (Do you think I could eventually manage to apply this lesson to other areas of my life??) So, what have I learned?

It is all down to quality. The fleece I have is nothing like the previous, apart from the US versions. What I have in my stash is fine and silky, very free of vm, and pretty clean. I tried the first little bit in fear and trembling - after that, I studied, experimented and had a dam' good time.

The advice that you don't need to wash alpaca is true. It is a little dirty, but nothing that even I, who wouldn't dream of not washing fibre as a rule, doesn't feel entirely happy using just as is. Very little grease.

The advice that alpaca likes to be spun fine is by and large true. You can spin the loveliest even, delicate-looking but strong yarn from this good fleece. You can comb butt and tip with a dog comb, and spin, resulting in a yarn of which to be proud. But if you do want a thicker yarn, carding it helps in that.

You do not need to blend with wool, although of course, you can if you wish. I personally didn't like the resulting yarn, blended with a very nice natural dark Falkland top, all that much, but it worked out quite satisfactorily. The benefit would be a loftier yarn with some elasticity. Might it be warmer? Tempting to say yes, but alpaca is surely the fibre that keeps those high altitude Peruvians warm, and they might know better.

Alpaca blends beautifully with silk. I used a warm honey brown sashe (wild African) that toned well with the brown alpaca, and loved the yarn. But I also like the blend with tencel - I am not sure of any advantages of blending with this, but tried it out just because.

I also discovered in my stash a wonderful commercial preparation, labelled "baby alpaca" that I had been given by a generous friend. I loved it so much, I am now spinning it for myself, probably for a shawl, and will simply allow the class to admire it from a distance.


sample book

Do not adjust your set - or faint. Of a sudden, I am organised. A sample book, no less!


From left to right - combed alpaca, carded with tencel, with silk, with Falkland top. All plied.


Grey alpaca, combed and carded.


The white baby. This is such a close-up, the yarn appears quite bulky. But it really is fairly fine.

This exercise has been informative to say the least, and also fun. Another lesson learned, obviously.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The pond* is dead - long live the pond*

I did wonder about trying to sell this as the latest thing in lifestyle. SUV complete with own pond.

SUV decor

But I think I may be too cutting edge, and that this is an idea whose time has not yet come. I am indeed often misunderstood about these things.

Our pond, home to many tadpoles and a fine waterlily, died this week. The water level kept on sinking alarmingly, despite the DSM's valiant work with the hose. Hence the purchase yesterday of one pond liner. Now that the old barrel, which once held whisky, not weed and water, is out of the ground, it is easy to see why.

Dead barrel

So, now the DSM is busy excavating a slightly larger hole. And for those of a nervous disposition, he is not in imminent danger of toppling over the edge, there is a further ledge below before the sheer drop from our eccentric garden.

Diggin' an 'ole

The tadpoles are safe in buckets and hopefully will survive the upheaval. We were asking advice about keeping ponds clean and clear (we do use barley straw to help with algae, but duckweed is a problem) and were advised to get fish. Fish!?! I rather like the idea, but I suspect that the cats would too, not to mention the neighbourhood herons. But we are tempted.....

*The DSM has instructed me to say that any derogatory remarks about buckets from persons residing in California are made at the perpetrator's own risk.

He said that. Not me. Just doing what I am told. Really.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


I love that word, one of my all time favourites. Maybe I need to do a whole series of posts based on others.

Anyway - the serendipitousness of this post is this. I was all set to write about my niece and some of her work, two photographs of which I have just shamelessly stolen from a website -and don't you just love that name? This isn't hers - this is. I have posted this link before, but have to give full credits, no? Then Interweave Knits arrives, and opening it up, there is an article about someone knitting a US flag with steel poles held by cherrypickers. Can't give you a link to that specifically, there's nothing about it on their website.

OK - so where am I going with this? I am not particularly a huge fan of much contemporary art. Do not get me started on Britart, Rachel Whiteread, Tracy thing, whoever. I do quite like Antony Gormley, and I am sure there would be more if I were not so ignorant of their existence, which is not exactly my fault because there is rarely much in the press. But I am rambling, just by way of a change.

What I like about the piece in Knits, and what I like about some of Alice's work, especially these two, is an underlying dry humour, and a clever capacity for making you look at things in a very fresh way. For me, art can be about that as well as being something so beautiful, or technically clever, or whatever it is that makes you look at it and go - yessss. And no, you don't have to understand it.


This piece of work was exhibited with the instruction that if the piece should completely deflate during the show then the gallery was to contact the artist, and she would come and change the Lightbulb for them. You have just got to love that.


I must get to see this one in the flesh. Looking at the photograph alone makes me laugh, but I can see such a lot in it. If I want to sound really loopy - it makes me think of the sellotape rolling itself up in to a ball and peering out at us is fear and disbelief. I think it's great. It occurs to me as I am writing that I have always enjoyed the theatre of the Absurd, and that maybe my penchant for works like this is an extension of that, I don't know. I need to give it all more thought, along with that perennial questions that dogs all our heels.

What is Art?

I was just making soup, chopping up butternut squash, onions, red peppers, tomatoes. I liked the way my hands moved and looked as I chopped, and wished I had my camera at hand. The diced veggies looked equally fine heaped up on my chopping board, and again simmering in the pan. I think - I know - that is art and one that I practice more than competently.

Now I am going to spin. At what point does the art of that burst in to life? If I follow my soup theory logically, then it must be as I take the raw fibre/ingredients and start to change them.

Now, there's food for thought......

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A complete coincidence

It really is. I was not feeling Maryland Sheep and Wool envy, likely to be far too hot for me.

No, me and my mate from Blackburn had been planning a trip to Clapham. That's Clapham in North Yorkshire, not London. Much nicer - the drive alone was well worth the effort, through the fringes of the Trough of Bowland, into the Dales, nothing but moorland and sheep and curlews to be seen for mile after mile after mile. Bliss.

Anyway, we were going to visit a yarn shop that many. many people had told me about in hushed tones of awe. All I can say is - wow.

Now, I spin my own yarn, love to do so, and am only occasionally seduced by the store boughten stuff. I admit, rather more in the last year or two, as commercial yarn spinning has risen to ever greater heights of ingenuity. But this place, Jenny Scott's (there is a website, but only a very brief one dealing with the embroidery and bear stuff, both of which are cool, but it is the yarn that I'm on about) is super. Colour, colour all around, fabulous textures, all really nice stuff. Colinette, Noro. All the usual suspects, but more of them than one usually sees. Our LYS in town stocks the self-same brands, but kind of one example of each, won't get more in until one batch is sold. Frustrating. This place is like a sweetie shop, with a Juliette Binoche type of owner, gently enabling, seducing you with little offers, oh the utter temptation.

I was tempted and I fell. I was actually pretty restrained, but I can still hear the screaming-in-agony of my credit card.


The Charlotte Schurch sock book looks very good, just the thing for me and my handspun, with the designs built around stitches not yarns. Then, I found a little stash of Brittany sets of five short dpns - almst unheard of around these parts - so I snaffled all the smaller sizes. I keep breaking or losing them, and like to have multiple sets anyway so I can work on both socks at once if so moved.

Yarn. Well, very restrained Noro Silk Garden. The owner is damn good - she picked out colours she thought would work for me, steering me away from the more vibrant shades, and you know, she's right. This one has the lime green I have been beading with of late, plus my favourite shade of blue, back in the wardrobe again this year. Clever, clever. This is aimed at a shawl, examples of which were draped around the shop, so simple it made me weep to think none of us had come up with the design for ourselves, and quite irresistible. The next one will be in handspun and hand-dyed, but it will be interesting to work in this.

Oh, and one little skein of an irridescent Colinette, that looks like ostrich feathers when knitted up. The colours in this range are mouthwatering.

Clapham is a very atractive Dales village, with a beck running through the middle, a pub, a couple of cafes - one was closed so we used the other twice, and apparently both come highly recommended. Great for a day out.

We drove back a different way, and came across a good birdwatching spot at a reservoir in the Gisburn Forest, now earmarked for the DSM and me to revisit for a picnic and a spot of twitching. A good day.

I keep pondering the question of why I feel guilty about buying yarn. Apart from the cost - and that is less of an issue these days - I think it is mostly because I also feel that I have very limited knitting skills, and something about the rate at which I knit. Also, if the thing I make is easy-peasy, but handspun and even better, hand-dyes, then I can be more proud of it. That shouldn't matter one jot. Then, I can somehow allow myself to build up a fibre stash, a handspun stash but not a bought yarn stash. Is that not just plain daft? It has to be that damn puritanical voice of ours and our parents generation echoing in our ears. "You spent how much? And just what are you going to do with that, then? Couldn't you have unravelled an old one?"

I still have a way to travel........

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Unashamed cat post - absolutely no fibre content at all

I am suffering. I am deep in love.

(no subject)

There are, as you see, four of them.

(no subject)

My foot is not in for scale. No, my skirt was proving an irresistible playground, and this pair tumbled out from under.

Beating up a sibling is such fun, and allows the photographer to show clearly that some of us are seal, others blue.

They are all very gorgeous, strong, healthy and beautiful.

(no subject)

Snowshoes. Didn't I say?

(no subject)

And this little sweetheart still doesn't have a new home to go to. But I can't, I really can't. We are away so much this summer that even though his breeder says she will look after him for me, I would miss so much of those lovely kitten days. So I shall live through the pain (aren't I nauseating?)

Besides, I really want two...........

Friday, May 05, 2006

Adventures in still photography

That probably doesn't work as well as I though it might, but I can't think of anything better!

Sarah didn't have to nag me about reporting on yarn progress, I was all geared up to do it today anyway.

red rock country yarn

This has come out as a lovely soft and cushy yarn with a most unusual colourway. I was slightly nervous about the end product as the mix of fibres in the blend were not all of the same staple length, which made drafting a little problematic. But it has washed up beautifully, and is reasonably regular. I have no idea what I am going to do with this - there isn't enough for a shrug, something I am itching to do (there is one on Knitty, called Bobblicious, I think, that I would like to try). I think I may do incredibly posh hat, scarf and mitts - there should be enough for all of those, if not I stop before completing the set.


This next is the singles spun from the multi-layer batt from SOAR 2004. I am somewhat impressed with the overall consistency of this yarn. Apart from one bobbinful, it is all very much the same grist, and not far off in the amount of twist. Considering it has been a year at least in the spinning, that ain't too bad. An interesting thing is that I had skeined off one bobbin some time ago, left four bobbins full of yarn until a few days ago, and skeined off the last bobbin as soon as I spun it. The yarn that had been left on the bobbins had quietened down no end, as one would expect, but the different treatments resulted in six skeins all of a different length. I've washed it today, and it is hanging outside under light tension. I will steam it when it is dry. This will not of course counter the twist energy - that simply is tamed for a while. If I were to rewash the yarn, it would reassert itself, and it would do so anyway in the knitting unless worked with balanced stitches. (I am not particularly good at spinning at a sufficiently low angle of twist to avoid that.) So - a garter stitch shawl, and nothing wrong with that.

And here we have the sample from the dye class all spun up. Not quite such a nice spinning job, but it will do. I don't think that there is going to be enough for any sort of scarf, so - another bag looms on my horizon. Why break the habit of a lifetime.....

aster-pumpkin sample

So, what does that subject line imply? Well, I though my faithful digital camera was on the blink, which would be annoying enough at the best of times, I use it so much. But tomorrow, I am going to see.....kittens. Super superior posh and beautiful kittens at that. I met their mum when she was nobbut a sprog herself and fell in love, and I could become the proud parent of the last remaining baby, had the DSM not put his size nine down very firmly indeed. There would be one pretty big problem - the two resident moglets are outside cats, despite being siamese. My friend the breeder wouldn't think too much of that, and we couldn't have half and half, so to speak. Plus this is a very superior and therefore stealable little critter. But I want the odd photo, hence the need for the digital, can't wait six months until we use up another regular film. However, fortunately it turned out to be batteries - I kept trying to change dead ones for dead ones, that will teach me to get rid of the old ones straight away......

Small political note. I see that T. Blair has been disturbed enough by the local election results to do something sensible for once and promote Margaret Beckett to Foreign Secretary. He treated her shamefully, of course, when he first took office, by sidelining her after her brilliant job holding everything together after John Smith's death. So in one swell foop we get rid of Jackass Straw, and have someone with at least a hope of being competent (if not too completely cowed by the Party Machine)in the Cabinet. However, I fear too little too late.

Plus the foul BNP didn't do as well as I feared they might. Disgusting little toe rags. Give thanks for small mercies.

Yikes. Back to yarn. It's a glorious afternoon, I'm taking my wheel outside for an airing. Having washed the kitchen floor, I'm entitled.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Paying for the pleasure

If I were one of those clever enough to attach an audio file here - which I am not - you would at this moment be hearing one of those loud, prolonged, gusty exhalations of breath that result from finally finishing a (usually) hated task just short of killing yourself.

Are you ready for this? For the very first time in the history of this blog I have cleaned the cooker. And from there went on to swab down all, and I do mean all, bar the floor (tomorrow!)surfaces in the kitchen. The DSM will arrive home tonight and be knocked down by the chemical smell. The heavy duty chemical smell. No eco alternatives, or plain hot water for superslut.

Let us backtrack. Yesterday, I had no power all day, due to a replacement of poles situation. No, not Eastern European plumbers, although I could do with one of those. A power line carrying pole in our sleepy hollow had been deemed Too Short. So, 8.30 am, arrived the cherry pickers and the lorries bearing poles, and a lot of men in very serious looking harnesses and hard hats, and at 10am off went the juice.

Now, in this modern age, there is not too much in the way of domestic choring that can go on without a huge amount of preplanning sans the electric. I did consider sweeping the kitchen floor and then washing it, but we need electricity to make the gas hot water system work - no immersion - so, that was out. As was vaccing, ironing - ok, so not dusting, but whatever is the point of dusting if you aren't going to spiff up the rest, eh.

No computer, either - now, that is serious.

That gave a girl an entire day with ipod, spinning wheel and knitting needles. Oh dear. Such hardship.

Right, on to evening and meal preparation, involving the bottom oven. Which would not light. So I get to grovelling on my knees up close and personal to find out why (lack of power related, and soon sorted, since you ask). This meant that my nose was pressed close to the interior of the oven. Ew. It may have self-cleaning linings, but the only word for it that is repeatable was - ew. Yes, my dears, even I, superslut herself, Could Not Stand It A Day Longer. Hence this morning's labours. Hence the loudness and gustiness.

(I have a lineful of clean dusters, too.)

And now, I get to do real stuff. Back to the beads today, perhaps.

I deserve it.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Pure pleasure

Up until recently, I hadn't been spinning very much. I've been afflicted by the philosophy of having to know what I am spinning for, and the list of projects stacking up was getting overwhelming. So, that's a fatal flaw, then.

Of a sudden, I realised that this was the case, and that maybe, just maybe, I needed to sit and spin for at least a short while during the day for sanity's sake. So downstairs, I have been working away on the Carolina Homespun special SOAR fibre from last year, and very nicely it has turned out, too. Do I know what I am going to do with it? H'mm. Maybe a shawl/scarf thingy, there is one in "The Knit Stitch" that starts off as a triangular shawl and then you cast on for the length of a scarf. I did one a year or three ago, and rather like it - this might work for that. I would love to do a shrug, but I don't think there will be enough yarn.

Then there was the 50 grammes of Falkland top that I dyed as a demo on Friday. I liked the end result so much that I may well be moved to do some more, and thought it was a good idea to actually spin up the sample to see what that looked like. So far so good - I have just finished it, and even on a dark grey day like today, I think it more than passes muster. I am considering some sort of skinny little scarf worn purely for decoration, and with some kind of fancy yet by-me-doable stitch pattern - hunting one such down should be....challenging.

These were both done on the Timbertops, and that was the really full-on pure pleasure. I needed to be reminded of what a lovely wheel it is. So very quiet, just the merest whisper of sound to accompany meandering thoughts. Smooth, effortless treadling, nice and slow and relaxed. Nearly as good for the state of well-being as stroking a cat and hearing it purr. (And of course, I do that, too, but not usually at the same time as spinning. Doesn't mix too well....)

Upstairs, I got the Schacht out yesterday, and very much enjoyed being reunited with it. She is an elderly lady now, and has done a fair bit of production spinning to boot, so she is not as silent as maybe once upon a time, and creaks a little, but is still a very nice wheel to use. I don't mind the chatter, it reminds me of the pleasant hours we have spent in one another's company. I should get this spinning finished today, and can then plan another upstairs project, no pressure, just some quality time, and hopefully quality spinning.

But, but, but. Oh, the greatest pleasure - the greatest joy. (Now you really get to hear some of the sad stuff about me.)

Comedy Connections, which has been a nice prog on tv from time to time - last night did (drumroll) "That Was The Week That Was". We actually sat up late (for us) and watched it, couldn't bear to wait.

TW3 arrived on our screens just as I was starting to grow up (it has been an extremely extended process). It blew my mind on a regular basis, as I suspect it did for a lot of my generation, but more importantly, apart from being extremely entertaining - I was laughing aloud at the clips last night - it made me see a lot of things in an entirely different way, and changed the direction in which I was going. Now, maybe this would have happened by some other wise anyway, who knows. But I can identify TW3 as the kicking off point for a lot in me that I value - although many others do not, ha. I loved it then, and loved it all over again seeing some of the few remaining bits that the dear old Beeb didn't wipe (they were such vandals, loads of iconic programmes have been destroyed over the years.)

Huge gusty sighs of nostalgia all round.

I'll try to have pics of yarn up soon.