Monday, October 29, 2007

Further to.....

I was a bit mingy with the details on the shawl. In my defence, I was rushing to put up a post whilst the DSM and my sister were out having a walk. I didn't go, partly because I was feeling bone idle and still rather tired, but also because I am never all that keen on walking in the Crags on a Sunday. (Is that convincing enough?)

Anyhow - the shawl is, I am amazed to find as I had completely forgotten, from a pattern on Magknits. The first one of the three at that link. I had lost my printed version of the pattern by the end, and had forgotten that it was meant to be an i-cord cast off. I did a picot cast-off, which is perhaps a bit frilly, but was fun to do. This entire thing, remember, was always intended to be a major learning experience. It is definitely for most of you out there very easy, but wasn't for me. But I did in the end crack it, rather like it, and I think I will adapt it for a scarf at some point.

The fibre was a somewhat motley collection of 50/50 merino and tencel from Traci Bunkers. Beautiful stuff, very nice to spin, and the handle of the finished fabric is really good. I didn't, as I have moaned before, make that brilliant a job of spinning it both in terms of how I randomly muddled the colours and then drastically underplying it. I could, and did, remedy the latter fault to some extent, and can only hope that it doesn't all come out in the wash!

So - I shall use merino and tencel for similar projects in the future, and I will try lace knitting again . In fact, I have lined up a couple to take away on holiday with me. Plus socks, of course.

We leave early on Thursday morning, and I may very well not have anything at all blogworthy (quiet at the back, there....) before then. Or I might, who knows. but I am taking my laptop as we have been told there should be intermittent internet access (I am assuming that it may depend on where the boat is in the steep-sided fjords, but what do I know?) If so, I shall enjoying doing the roving reporter bit.

If nothing else, though, I am looking forward to quiet hours with my iPod and knitting, a mug of steaming hot chocolate at my elbow (and the occasional glass of aquavit?) and at the least some beautiful scenery through the mists for a few hours a day.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I have finished it. And no person was harmed in the making of this item. At least, not lastingly......


Even I, its mother, know it is not perfect. Well, the spinning isn't for one thing - I spun the yarn ages ago and would do it differently nowadays to try to avoid most of the weird effects. The knitting - well, I am now proficient in the noble art of fudge.

But who cares!?! Not me, I have finished my second ever lace project (the first having cost me much in blood, sweat and tears several years ago when I did a scarf for an exchange in the most divine flax that I handspun and dyed and didn't take a photograph of) I had hated that process so much I had vowed never to attempt it again, but I'm as much a lemming as the next woman and besides, don't like to be beat.

lace shawl closeup

My baby!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Swimming through the fog

Such a bad blogger I am, this week. What can I say? I have been out a lot.

Monday is washing day (oh, how boring....) Bits and pieces of other things.

Tuesday, day out with a friend. We were meant to be going to Lancaster, but decided it was perhaps too far for the way we were feeling, so went to Clitheroe instead. There is a very nice Gallery in Clitheroe and we visited the current exhibition. There were a lot of pieces that I liked very much, but I found myself pondering on and being faintly disquieted by the fact that not only was all the design computer created, but much of the actual work was likewise. How far does this have to go before you are past craft and into industrial process? At this point, I don't know and have no pronouncements to make, but it needs thought. Anyway, interesting and a grand day out (again) with the sun shining on the autumn trees and just sufficient crispness in the air.

Wednesday, the DSM was working at home, and we had our brand spanking new pc delivered and installed. The flat sceen monitor is so Bright I fear I may need sunglasses to use it if I can't find a way of lowering the brightness.

(Hey, it's the Saturday before the 5th and there are cannons going off all around of a sudden, most disconcerting! Which makes me realise that we shall be away next weekend and we shall miss the main explosive episodes. Thinks.... how to persuade the DSM that we need to be away for New Year as well......)

I digress. Thursday, the greater part of the Coven took itself off to Leeds to see Alan Bennett's "The History Boys" at the Grand. Well worth the effort. Terrific play and very well performed. Managed to handle, in quintessential Bennett style an excellent blend of pathos and humour. Well, he would, wouldn't he?

And then Friday was the AH class, which I thoroughly enjoyed and can only hope the rest of them did. Spinning proper for once, nice for me. Three relatively inexperienced attendees made breakthoughs and really good progress, and several nice meaty questions. Most satisfying. We are booked through to next September and I have decided to revamp the programme to take us right through. And intend putting in lots more spinning! Something to work on whilst on holiday (not).

Last night, I was really tired, and in fact too tired to sleep easily, so was wandering around at 2am getting drinks and hotties and so on. Made the big mistake of shutting the cats out of the room, so they then proceeded to play chasing games up and down the stairs (I had thought they were past that at their advanced age...). Still it gives one good reason for enjoying the clock change - a chance to catch up a bit. Otherwise I hate the process, dammit.

Before we go, I should have some pics of things various and likewise various words of wisdom. Just in case I can't get an internet connection whilst away.

Hope I can, otherwise it will take me forever to catch up when we get back!

Monday, October 22, 2007

One red leaf

Today dawned not one of my better days. Not so surprising, we are once again deserted by the sun. And I am, after all....well, me. It is, these days, all dealable with.

One of the ways of dealing was to finally take this photograph, which would have been better done on one of the bright, sunny days, but what the heck.

This is on the elder tree where there are usually so many birds that we watch from the bedroom window. Elders are not usually in the least interesting in autumn, the leaves simple go yellowish and quickly blow away in any wind. I have no idea why there is just this one red leaf. But I have been enjoying it for days, the colour is so rich and jewel-like.

one red leaf 2

One of the small pleasures that we all need in life.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Grand Day Out

I'm sure I have used that as a title before, but too bad. It was a grand day out, so what else do I call it?

Friday was our wedding anniversary. A rather large number of years has accumulated - not a truly noteworthy number, that comes next year, but enough, given the year we have had, to raise flags over. (Thinks - I should have got fireworks - maybe for next year?)

The DSM took a day off work, and agreed to my suggestion of a day out at the seaside. So we set off bright and early, except that the promised sunshine didn't materialise, and we actually left around midday. Ah, well. We picked up sandwiches in town, and after pootling around the lanes of Lancashire found a very pleasant rural gateway, only lightly supplied with inquisitive bullocks who were anyway safely behind a stout gate. Then on to the "coast".

This is not the sea shore that I am used to, it has to be said. But it has its own charms. First of all, we found the Lune estuary.


Move to the left upper corner of the shot and keep going, you will hit the sea at some point...... really and truly you will.

Then on down the coast to St Annes. St Annes has a pier, a rather charming Victorian one. Unfortunately, due to being now out of season, the end that is not infested with "amusements" and is open to the sea breezes was padlocked. Neither, sadly, does it have any sea underneath it. So just where do they launch their lifeboat from, then, eh?

St Annes pier3

But they do have a very nice promenade, where we sat for a while in a very staid, middleaged fashion, enjoying the late afternoon sunshine - the quality of the light really was pretty much as it is in these photos.

St Annes

I liked the bandstand, too.


We then went on to Preston to an extremely nice Chinese restaurant that himself had been to with work colleagues a couple of weeks before and had a great meal.

It truly was a lovely day.

Guild was the following day, so two long days out on the trot and we are feeling that a pleasant relax today will be a good idea. The weather is cooperating, so we are even getting to sit out in the garden. The cats approve, too. Herewith some gratuitous cat photos in lieu of fibre stuff.

Pete & Neelix

Sir and Neelix, or if you prefer, Sir and the DSM.....

Carol& Max

Max's favourite way to sit.

Max in window

Except when he is being an elegant china ornament in the sitting room window.

We have given up on sitting outdoors now - the lateish October chill has increased as the sun has started to dip down below the rim of the hill. It has been quite gorgeous sitting out there reading, or even chatting to neighbours, with butterflies and bees zooming all arund. We have been having a rich late flush of butterflies, and unexpected treat. There were, we think, some commas today - I was trying to get photographs, but they wouldn't co-operate.

Still, can't have everything. Hah.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

(Anonymous post)

Because I simply cannot think of an appropriate title today.

What do I want to say? A little of this, a little of that. I want to say that the sun is shining! Without a shadow of a doubt, I feel a bazillion times better, more cheerful more energised, when the old currant bun puts in an appearance. So I have today cleaned, done a few essential chores on the computer (as well as inessential ones, of reading all the emails and blogs from those lucky enough to be returning from SOAR, and there are still more reports due.)

And finished these:

red mittens

Chunky and cushy, with room for thinner ones inside should it be that cold. Although it may not be - I have been researching the current conditions in Norway and although colder than here, it is not below freezing except by a degree or so overnight, and there is little snow. Damn. Hope that changes over the next two or three weeks!

I came across this mouth-watering selection on the kitchen table. The DSM's long-term project is finally completed, and they looked so mouth-watering I attempted to photograph them. But, obviously, not very well. There is a pattern in "Knitters Stash" that he is going to look at to see if it will work out, something to keep him happily occupied on holiday.

Sir's yarns

Having finished mitts and socks, I am going to make a small inroad into the sock yarn mountain. Which I added to in a small way on Saturday, when we went to York. I finally got to visit Sheepish, but it was a bit of a disappointment. Some quite nice stuff, and the people on duty were very friendly, but it wasn't outstanding. I got a couple of socks worth of Regia, to show willing (ahem) one in the bamboo range which does seem nice. Anyway, I think it may finally be Jaywalker time. Nothing like coming crawling in at the rear as usual.

Apart from that, the same spinning projects. I'm putting in some good time on those, to the accompaniment of Georgette Heyer's "A Civil Contract", always a favourite of mine, and this version is beautifully read by Phillida Law. Her voice is perfect, even for the men.

One final thing.

pile 'o sticks2

The pile of sticks is no longer so, but is not yet completely fettled.

Getting exciting, though!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Rainy day blues.

Actually, not. For all it is pretty dank and nasty out there, I am relatively cheerful.

I have been waiting for a man again. (No, that isn't what makes me cheerful, I don't do waiting all that well.) He was supposed to arrive at 8.30 (ugh) but phoned instead to say he would be an hour late. After two hours, he turned up (Yeay!!) So hopefully, when he and his marra have finished, our flagstones will no lo0nger go bonk-bonk every time someone arrives at the house.

So, during thast waiting time, have I been productive? Weeeell.......

I have vacced a bit and unloaded the dishwasher. That counts, no? But I have spent a lot of time slaving over a hot laptop, checking blogs and Ravelry.

Now, I am a huge fan of Icanhascheezburger? If there is anything guaranteed to make me cheerful, it is that. But be warned if you visit, you either love it or think it the most twee and ridiculous thing evah. Anyway, on the Lolcats group on Ravelry, I followed a link or two and found out something very significant about myself (other than that I have an endless capacity for wasting time.)

Your Score: Longcat

65% Affectionate, 45% Excitable, 40% Hungry

Protector of truth.

Slayer of darkness.


It is prophesized that Longcat and his archnemesis Tacgnol will battle for supremacy on Caturday. The outcome will change the face of the world, and indeed the very fabric of lolcatdom, forever.

Be grateful that the test has chosen you, and only you, to have this title.

To see all possible results, checka dis.

Link: The Which Lolcat Are You? Test written by GumOtaku on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

I also found out that there is an Ankh Morpork Knitters Guild, but I can', wait a sec, I can show you the Coat of Arms.


I feel particularly cheerful about this, as at Coven last night, we were all given new broomsticks, courtesy of Nanny Ogg's daughter-in-law (she always did now how to pick/train 'em) I'll mebbe photograph it when it has had its custom job.

OK, time to check on the flag replacement activity and do something serious by way of knitting or spinning. Tomorrow we are going to York, and I have conned the DSM into promising a visit to Sheepish.

Like I need yarn.

(I have just reviewed this post and do believe that I have finally lost it completely. But I make no apologies. We are all allowed to display our barking (inappropriate, sorry) madness from time to time. So.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Joy of Sox

I'm not going to apologise for that, I like the phrase far to much.

I finally have a finished pair!

LL socks

I had heard people raving all over the place about Lorna's Laces sock yarn, and it is ok but that is all. There are others I like better. But I have tried it and am satisfied with that.

I wandered in to my LYS. It isn't brilliant, but tries and I feel I should encourage them as much as I can, which isn't much because of spinning my own yarn most of the time. But I had heard rumours of a Jitterbug sighting. And there was some. Not too much - this is one of the troubles with the shop, they don't carry a good range of anything other than perhaps Kid Silk Haze which is THE in-yarn at the moment (I think?)

But I bought two skeins, and added it to the stash - which is partially pictured here:

sock yarns

The screaming fluorescent lime green to the left is one of the Jitterbugs, the other is just visible underneath, a much more discreet blue/purple mix.

I also asked about Pony Pearl dpns. I am tired of breaking bamboo or birch ones, even though those are the nicest to knit with. Thought I would try something else before reverting to metal. But the owner didn't think they made them. Sigh. o I came home and ordered them from Pstternworks. Sigh again.

OK. I have ironed. I shall spin.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Bits & Pieces

Considering I was through here spinning at 2am, I am doing remarkably well today. Nothing wrong, or on my mind - just two bored cats playing the latest game. Curl up next to mum for a few minutes, just long enough to lull her into a false sense of security. Suddenly jump off the bed in a very heavy-pawed fashion. Almost instantly leap back on again, but this time in very close proximity to her head.

Repeat. and repeat. And etcetera.

This is not conducive to repose.......

But I have a triumph, of sorts. I found the camera handbook, and found the setting for taking close-ups.

This one didn't work so well.....


I bought this glass pendant at SOAR last year, and when I came to make a beaded chain for it, I decided that it didn't need one, and here was a good opportunity to do some more braiding. I even had coton perles of just the right colours. I have more of it (I'm never one to do things by halves) and have to work out what to use it for. Bookmarks?

Then, some completed yarns.

alpaca yarn

This first is a very nice baby alpaca roving that had been maturing in the stash for a while. I've spun it quite fine, and intend attempting a lace shawl from Knitters Stash (so be warned). And then I might or might not dye it.

The second is Freyalyn's Demeter, aforementioned in this blog somewhere.* I am really pleased at how it has turned out. This will join some other yarns in the yellow/brown spectrum (not my usual c0lours, but I am changing, which is interesting) and hopefully grow up to be a shrug.

demeter yarn

I'm finding time to spin more, and not only in the middle of the night, which is a Good Thing.

I am also nearly at the end of the Lorna's Laces socks. Well, I am at the end, the toe end - just have to finish them off and weave in the ends, and they are done. So I am hunting up yarns and patterns for the next pair(s) - I want to make sure of having plenty to keep me occupied on holiday. Of all the important things to remember to pack, knitting is the most.

*This vague reference and indeed all the deficiencies in today's blog post can be attributed to a husband kindly choosing to sort out a way around printer problems - which involves giving me a quick tutorial on writing stuff to disk. Now, at once, immediately. Any pathetic bleats about "Can't I just finish...." were swept aside.

Still, I have my sock patterns now.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

When I'm cleaning windows

Well. not me, of course.

MaryG told me on Friday that I hadn't said much on the blog lately about how the DSM was doing. So - up and down, but that is pretty much all his head. Physically, he is doing just great.

There I was, peacefully buzzing about on Ravelry (I'm CarolL, now there's a surprise), when there was a clattering over my head and this appeared. So, especially on the off chance that someone at SOAR might log on, here is the latest photo of the ol' fella.

When I'm cleaning windows

Looking pretty chipper, eh?

Saturday, October 06, 2007


At Coven on Thursday nights, we always have tea and cake. This week was no different.

I was drinking my tea, minding my own business. Getting towards the bottom of the cup, I took a swig and was putting it back down on the table. My brain registered ....something which I thought was a large crack. Oh, dear, I thought. M has a large crack in this mug. Picked it up, took another swallow, was putting it down again half checking on the supposed crack.

Brain synapses fired off in all directions. Crack-notcrack. Unimaginableunbearablethought.

Very bravely, I bring the mug up again and.....look.

Silent scream.

In a quiet, restrained shriek, I ask Magrat to look at what might be in the bottom of the mug and tell me it isn't what I think it is.

Magrat exits the room with a yell and a flurry. I was right. I feel more than a little queasy.

It WAS a spider.

Poor M, who had poured the tea, was mortified, and indeed telephoned me first thing on Friday morning to make sure I hadn't had a nightmare-filled night. Fortunately not, and I can see the funny side.

So I go off with MofF&M for a day out at the Fashion and Embroidery Show, which was very good. I spent some money, quite judiciously. Bumped into and chatted with more people that I would ever have imagined possible and really enjoyed catching up with all sorts of friends. Excellent stuff.

Pleasant morning today running errands in town with the DSM, we had lunch sitting in the sunshine, and a small glass of dry white wine is making me sleepy. So I shall knit in a calm and reflective manner, possibly with sound effects, whilst he watches the rugby.

They do reckon fortune tellers only tell you the good stuff.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The world in its infinite variety

Two hours one-on-one teaching is exhausting! Rewarding, but exhausting. This particualr "student" is a real pleasure to work with, very pleasant and bright and likely to end up an amazingly good spinner. But by the time we have covered what she wanted from me today - longdraw and navajo plying - plus answering all the questions she has lined up, I am approaching brain-dead.

So I chose to recover with a soap opera and some knitting.

red mitten

Bright red spiral rib mittens from Homespun, Handknit. Chunky yarn, so gratifyingly quick to knit. Not completely mindless, and a different thumb technique from the previous pair I made. (All the fingerless ones I have done, I have made up the thumb treatment as I went along.)

Longdraw. Sylvia asked why I had doubts about doing this on my new wheel, which rather gave me pause, as she is a fine and knowledgeable spinner.

I have previously spun on a Pipy Poly, which had a large hook instead of an orifice, and a Majacraft Tiny Tim with a delta. This is what the Little Gem has, too, as do, I believe, all of their wheels. Hooks and deltas behave rather like the spindle on a great wheel or charka: if you don't have the thread coming off the point at just the right alignment, then you get a lot of bumping and bouncing, which I find tiring and unpleasant. You will get yarn spinning ok, but you may not enjoy the process. Both longdraw and point of contact need, in my opinion, to come off in a dead straight line with the "point" of the delta; that is what I meant.

As I love little better than discussing the finer points of spinning technique in a thoroughly geek-like way, feel free to agree/disagree/otherwise comment!

Actually, that brings me back to my teaching session. This morning's visitor has previously had sessions with a very well known and well-respected spinning tutor. I have several areas where I disagree with her pretty fundamentally; this happens, it is quite normal, and I am not (necessarily) casting nasturtiums. But it can be a ittle tricky to handle in a tactful manner, other than saying the above. I do hope that works!

And now for something completely different.

A few years ago, we had a magical evening in San Francisco just prior to SOAR. A bunch of people met for a social gathering, great food, great wine, great and joyous laughter. Few of us had ever met face to face before; we were - are- all on the same email list. I don't think I will ever forget driving back out of the city on a warm,calm evening, the lights in the buildings turning the world to fairyland, having spent precious time with strangers who were in an instant firm friends. Whenever people curse the internet, I think of that.

However - we met at the home of Joy, Nyondo and Lena, and although I have never met them face to face since, I am in contact and follow their adventures - which are magical in themselves - via Joy's blog. Today, this pricked my conscience.


I don't know that there is much that we as individuals can do about Burma. Of course, there are countries where such suppression of democracy (whatever that is) have lead to very different words and actions....But the very least I can do is raise my hand and join the chorus that says "This is wrong".

And at the same time, I commend Joy's blog to you, with particular reference to the Tsao Pema Medical Emergency Fund. The back story to this is in the archives. I was told a very long time agao that the bes way to get aid anywhere was to channel it via a personal contact. Here you can see how a very little sent this way can achieve so much.

And them's my thoughts for today.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Time passes

I have my least favourite kind of day ahead. Which is waiting for a man to come. I mean, this is not a good thing whichever way you look at it, but I am referring to the sort of man who is coming to fix or check something, and they add an extra layer of man-ness to the proceedings. I do not do this well.

Plus, the last couple of days I have been feeling seedy. Nothing too specific or worrisome, just annoying, but yet another thing to have to deal with.

Bah, humbug.

It is possible that part of the problem is that I should be in the final stages of packing for SOAR, and of course, I am not. In a year when I really could do with seeing folk...oh well, Norway soon, and I am looking forward to that, despite the odd concern about lack of daylight hours. All the more knitting time!

And apropos, I have finished the latest hand warmers, functional but uninspiring, and cast on for the spiral rib mittens in "Homespun, Handknit". So by the time we go, I should have duplicates of everything to keep me nice and warm in an unaccustomed wintry landscape.

I manage a few rows on the "lace" shawl most days, but it is taking forever to finish - the ball of yarn seems never-ending. Serve me right for spinning quite fine. How those who do real laceweight stuff manage, I simply do not know. I have also been spinning more, always soothing. I have finished the "Demeter" colourway from Freyalyn, and have also used some more of her stuff to get familiar with the Little Gem. Which is taking some doing, Majacrafts being unlike all other wheels. Quite nice, though, and because you can angle the flyer, ok for point of contact, and hopefully, longdraw.

Which reminds me, I must go hunt up my short stapled fleece, I have someone coming tomorrow for a lesson in that and navajo plying, and I am reviewing drafting methods at AH next time as well.

It is going to take me a bit longer to unveil the last extravagance. It had arrived safely - well, more or less, one bit missing that I need to email about - but it is still an unphotogenic pile of sticks. Our intention is to tackle it at the weekend, so maybe it will be confession time then.

Still no ring at the door. Grrrr. OK. Fleece, then coffee. Then spinning.

OK. Loins girded.