Friday, October 27, 2006

On the road

Not really, of course. I'm sitting down with a nice glass of Chardonnay newly bought from a winery in Napa Valley, plus a borrowed laptop. The sun has shone brilliantly (ok, a tiny bit of fog one day, but even that lead to interesting photo opportunities), it has not been too hot just bright and beautiful.

Our dinner with Sylvia, Marj and Alfred was wonderful, the opera was super. So, I had better stop using up all my superlatives before someone smacks me. We are with other friends tomight, and were last night, whichhas given me a chance to catch up on email and check in here. No photos, although I have lots already, I don't have the software with me of course.

So I shan't linger. Just proving we are still alive, having survived the flight. Which was not at all bad in the event, and - guess what!! Air France food is by airline standards edible.

On that note I shall leave you and go refill my glass and start anticipating the pasta with artichoke hearts I am being threatened with.

Life is such a pain, sometimes.....(exits rather rapidly!)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Needles on fire

I can't quite believe it, but....I have finished my Noro socks! In rather less than a week!! Here's the proof:

Noro socks

Of course, the yarn is relatively thick for me and I used largeish needles, but even so, I am amazed with myself.

I won't start another pair before Saturday, my usual ploy is to put dpns in my glasses case and have yarn ready to go and then I'm all ready to cast on as the plane...casts off. About which I am trying not to think, as I don't like flying all that much (hah!) anyway, and the thought of an eleven hour flight is doing my head in.

So. We are about to set off. What with all the upheavals here, I can honestly say that I haven't given any of it much thought. Oh, we have made all the arrangements, of course we have. But it doesn't for once seem all that real. It will after that journey, I have no doubt. I have explained to the DSM in words of one syllable and several times over that I want a nice gentle few days drifting around SF, enjoying the sights, having frequent coffee stops, having afternoon naps if necessary, a bit of gentle exercise, nothing strenuous. We have a night at the opera to look forward to, and a dinner engagement that is going to be a real treat. Then we visit friends for a couple of days, then go hang out with more of the same for another dinner engagement. It's beginning to sound as though I need a social secretary........

Then it's Tahoe, and SOAR. I have heard very little internet chatter this year about it, who is going, doing what, so it is all going to be a big surprise, I guess. Nothing wrong with that! It will seem a little bit odd after a year away, I have no doubt. But I am very much looking forward to it, and particularly being back at Tahoe, it is so beautiful there. Which reminds me, I still have a bit of internet searching that I have to do, to check on boat trips......

When I get back, part of my return jet-lag therapy can take the form of blogging all this, links and all. This may well be my last post before we go, I doubt that I will complete any more projects. So, expect nothing for the next three weeks or so, and then a deluge!

Before I go, I have a photograph of the DSM and the cats, the former of whom appears to have decided that wearing a metal cap against alien mind-reading might be a good idea. Quite how he manages to spindle spin like this is beyond me.

tin hat on it

The yarn this time is so fine that it doesn't really show up in the photo, either.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The same part of a different forest.

Which has only the merest connection with what I am going to blather on about.

Began the day well? Not exactly! I overslept - not by a huge amount, but this would of course be the day that the builders arrived early. No doubt to catch up on being rained off by yesterday's deluge, which is very praiseworthy. But I did not enjoy being finally thrown into consciousness by heavy footsteps overhead (I have absolutely no idea what they are doing now, having finished the actual laying on of tiles). I then had a mad scramble into clothes just in case they needed access to the house, and once I start scrambling I find it hard to stop, mentally at least, so I am still all of a doo-da. Coffee appeals, but I hate to think what the caffeine will do to me - still, I have a hairdresser appointment at lunchtime, so that will calm me right down, always does.

There was another minor disaster this am, an' all. Went to take a photo for the blog, and find the shutter seemingly jammed on the Samsung! It may be as simple as needing the battery changed (crossing fingers, which makes typing difficult) At least if it is worse than that, we have time to take it in to the shop on Saturday with a day or two to spare before leaving for SF. But I could do without these little hiccups.

Now then. This was - is - intended to be a serious fibre post, believe it or not. Whilst having my breakfast in an unaccustomed spot courtesy of the early arrival of the builders, I noticed the DSM's niddy noddy full of his three ply sock yarn. It is beautiful stuff, spindle spun and plyed, and is going to make the most wonderful pair of socks. Worthy of a mention just in its own right. But what suddenly interested me was thinking about the yarn I had spun from the self-same fibre. (Well, not exactly, but you do know what I mean, so stop sniggering at the back, there.)

Now, as a teacher of spinning, and general all-round know-all, I often get into conversations about how the fibre dictates what the yarn shall be. To which I always reply, "Well, yes, kind of.) Because yes, it is true that you cannot spin a delicate fine laceweight yarn from Herdwick, if you get my drift. But I do know perfectly well, that the second half of my riposte, that it is the spinner that is in charge and decides on the form that the yarn shall take, is the fuller picture.

And here is the evidence to support the hypothesis. Please note the 50p coin for scale........

same fibre, different yarns

The upper yarn is the DSM's ultra-fine firmly-spun three-ply worsted yarn, the lower my medium weight, two-ply semi-woollen spun.

One of the reasons that I love this game.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

One FO and one very nearly FO

Here we have socks

silk socks

Finished 'em this morning. The photo does them rather more than justice, as the little plucks and fluffs caused by my knitting and also my knitting with pointed dpns instead of blunt ones doesn't show. The colour, on my monitor anyway, is pretty damn close. I might just be tempted to try another pair, our LYS has the same yarn and I rather fancy a cream pair. I'll maybe see how these wear, first. And it is always possible that this sockknittingfest will burn itself out......

Next up, I've decided, the Noro - if I don't get them finished before we leave for SOAR, doesn't matter. For travelling, I have the Regia wool/cotton, and my handspun Jacob now finished and washed. Should have done a photo of that.- oh, well, never mind. Hadn't spun Jacob for eons, and I am glad to see how different my spinning is! I also have some rather nice hand-dyed merino I bought off eBay, might slip that in as well. Just when I think I am going to knit other than on the loooooong flights, I know not - although I can knit when I'm not driving (you will be glad to hear). As the DSM gave in to my request for a hired SUV (just a smallish one, I hope!), I have promised to Do My Share this trip. And no, I don't feel like getting in to the argument just now, thankyouverymuch.

And the nearly FO? The roof!!!!! The very last tiles went on this morning, now they just have some pointing left to do, and the massive clear-up. Should all be done tomorrow, and the scaffolding down on Thursday as long as it doesn't rain too much. I just can't say how relieved I shall be, not only to have a good=looking and well-functioning roof before the winter sets in, but to have the crew gone. A nice bunch, pleasant and hardworking. But the constant bangbangbanging, smashing tiles landing in the skip, the clank of metal poles and roof ladders, whining cutters....the noise has seeped in to every nerve ending and twisted. Hard.

It means that I will have one week clear to get ready for our trip. I have barely even given it much thought, other than organising the necessary reservations &etc. Oh, and booking the necessary hair appointments (smirk.)

Washing, ironing, rounding up workshop essentials, packing. Hopefully we have back-up plans in place for dealing with the felines.

What is more, somewhere in all there we have a wedding anniversary. But by mutual agreement, we are not doing anything - we have sufficient excitement upcoming!

Two years time, will be a different story.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


I'm not, but in some ways I wish I were! It's been a long week, ending a tiring but most excellent day.

We were teaching at a nearby Guild, one we know and love of old. Wheel maintenance (originally booked as the DSM, but as he so rightly said, more my thing than his. Then the rest of it spindle spinning. Which went very well indeed, lots of participants, everyone including us seeming to have a good time.

Himself in action:

DSM teaching

And again:

DSM teaching

It had been intended just to do high whorling, including plying, but some of the overachievers asked us to look at Akha spindling as well. I left him to do that, my voice was beginning to creak a bit, plus I had various other queries to field. This is one of the really nice things about teaching together, we can divide our forces. For instance, I was showing one person how to do the Andean plying thing, and she simply could not get how to wind the singles around her hand, Could Not. I boiled it down to the minimum of extremely simple instructions, and even tried to get her to stop and think at the critical point, but nothing I could do was helping. So, I simply get himself to take over - gets me out of the predicament, true, but another eye, another mindset can just do the trick, and eventually, that is what happened. So, everyone happy, where's the harm!

We got home shortly before dark, and I just had time to take some photographs of the Virginia creeper, glowing in the low light.

It has been growing a bit, too! And please note the beech trees, from previous photographs, beginning to get a bit bald.

virginia creeper

virginia creeper

And I like the shapes in this one.

virginia creeper

We were pretty tired last evening, so were forced to down a bottle of Prosecco and order in an Indian takeaway. There was a Monty Python retrospective on the box, so putting all that together, it was a good end to a good day.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

And the rain....came down

Today it has rained. Today it has rained all day. Therefore, there have been no builders on the roof. Who can blame them? Certainly not I.

Dreaded cold went into the stuffed nose and cannot breathe stage, so I kind of gave up today. Ran an errand or two - in all the rain - came home and drank tea and knitted in front of a tape of CSI Miami, which seemed a not unreasonable choice, importing as it did a little sunshine into the day. Mind you, they really do use a weird colour balance for that programme, n'est-ce-pas? Anyway, galloped along the foot of silksock2 very satisfactorily.

I got to musing about using coins for scale reference in blog photos. Of course, we could just use a ruler. But then that has the problem of - metric or imperial. I can reasonably well use both for dimension, and probably regular cooking, although I am a little of this and little of that kind of a person. I always use metric for dyeing, but have difficulty with speed and temperature. So, maybe not.

Coins it is, then. So, for your handy reference, a selection of coins that might just possibly be found in blog photos....

(And, yes, I do know that this is a terrible photograph, it is about the sixth that I took and I have tried to fix it up a bit to boot. It gives the scale, live with it.)

coins for scale

On the left, from the top: fifty pence piece, twenty ditto, five ditto, all silvery coloured; centre: one euro, ten cent(european) bronzey, with a bit of silver in the top one; and finally, a dime (also silvery, and by george! About the same size as a five pence piece. I like to use the fifty because I like the shape and being larger, I am less likely to lose it. I took against fives when they first came out, and won't spend them - they all go in to my beach hut shaped money box. It has a seagull sitting on the roof.

So, bookmark this page for future reference, why not (bares teeth in a cheesy grin.)

I found the following in someone's blog today, and forgot to keep the reference. Apologies to the original poster, but I hope they will agree that this is worthy of further dissemination. I do so wish I were a few years younger and had kept my librarian skills up to date! An application would be out of here so fast...h'mm, wonder if that wouldn't matter so very much? A nice, motherly, mature older woman - what could be better? I could do the job with one hand tied behind my back.....

Are you interested in putting your library science education and experience to work in one of todayƂ’s most challenging, interesting and rewarding environments? T.. A.. E.. S.. is recruiting for a Chief Librarian to manage the Detainee Library, under the direction of the Joint Task Force-Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In managing the Detainee Library, the Chief Librarian is responsible for providing, maintaining and developing library services and operations using reading, recreational games and puzzles, music, or electronic media. The Chief Librarian is responsible for selecting and maintaining a range of reading and recreational materials to reflect the needs of the patrons in terms of languages and appropriate/approved topics

This was from a perfectly genuine-looking website, by the way. Departs, shaking head in wonderment.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The tale of a freebie fleece part the second

I can't, in my befuddled state, remember how much I have already said about my freebie fleece(s) so if I repeat myself, too bad. (Now, isn't that an improvement on saying "sorry"?)

It was free, there was a mountain of it.

Fleece mountain

It washed up very well - white and crisp.

Drying fleece

Sample locks, one combed, the other not, with a fifty pence piece for scale.

(no subject)

One of the things that I have been doing whilst besieged by builders and now the lurgy is spindle spinning some of it. (Lightish-weight Hatchtown Farm spindle.)

In progress

It was in such good shape, it was nice to spin, even though it is, it cannot be denied, coarse. Definitely not next to the skin stuff.

freebie fleece yarn

Then I actually knitted a small sample.


I enjoyed doing all this, and it gave me a great deal of food for thought. (Of course, it is true that being in a somewhat weakened state what with the endless banging and clumping and clattering of the builders and the booming in my head from the cold, such thoughts may be ..... disordered, to say the least.) Be that as it may, I found myself considering the many things that could perfectly well be made from a fleece like this, walking socks, boot socks, blankets, gardening mitts for those damp chill days. I love contemplating the endless possibilities, just wish I could execute a few more of them!

And apropos of that...I have finished one of the silk socks and done the toe of the second. I am enjoying my sock marathon, too.

India asks when we leave for SOAR. Friday 20th October to an airport hotel, because I refused to get up at 2.30am to get to the airport from here and that saves a bit of time. The actual flight is early Saturday 21st October. Manchester to Paris, Charles de Gaulle, then on to San Francisco in one eleven hour long flight. Am I mad??? I have made it very plain that for our few days in the city, I need to be treated very, very carefully indeed. A few gentle tourist things and lots of coffee stops. It should be great, we have never "done" SF before, driven through a few times, but not stopped.

Then we are spending a couple of nights with friends before going to visit another friend on the way up to Tahoe City on 29th October. We are only doing a workshop at SOAR this year, going to spend a couple of days being tourists up there as well. After that, back over to the coast for five days in a yurt (with a wood-burning stove!)

This will all be extensively photographed and blogged when we get back, of course. I love boring people rigid with holiday snaps...

My head honcho builder tells me that we might have most of a roof back today! And tomorrow someone will make good the inside of the window. Could the end be in sight?

Monday, October 02, 2006

Still in the land of the living.....

I think.

Good news! The back half of the house has a roof! And therefore, we also have a window.


Still some work to be done making good, but hopefully, the smallish amount of rain that found its way in this morning will be the last - it was a very heavy rainfall, and the tiles weren't on.

Probably this is a very, very, exceedingly stupid thing to say, but if things go well and there is not too much rain this week, this could all be over and done with by the weekend. Possibly.

The bad news? I have the first cold of the season. Not really at all surprising given all the stress and upheaval, and better now than just as we are setting off for SOAR, but I could have done without it. It's a throaty thing, and I sound like a demented raven if I talk. So the DSM is having a nice peaceful time this evening......

It didn't stop us from going to Masham yesterday. Had a great time, saw lots of nice people, the weather was kind.

More sheep!

I am pretty certain these are shetlands. Very cute, anyway. The next up I never saw the labels for, but those noses look Leicesterish to me. Border?


No idea what these are, but a nice shot for atmosphere.

Judging at Masham

And just to prove that even as a devoted cat person I have no prejudice about dogs - this is Freyalynn's new baby. Very, very young, very cute and I could easily have kidnapped her!

Freyalynn's new baby

I was making the DSM ultra-nervous by muttering about how I would like to have some sheep, and if not sheep, we could get two kittens and a puppy together when the time came. Well, I can dream, can't I?

Finally - my very first rosettes! At the last minute, the DSM had persuaded me that I should enter a few things in the classes at Masham, I never had before. I'm not too displeased with the results, having literally spun my fancy yarn in an afternoon a couple of days before the deadline. I should say, not a huge amount of competition, apart from a couple of folk (you know who you are!) I'll maybe have another go next year.


I am such a show-off!