Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Raising a banner of defiance

In the face of the new year that is rushing towards us!

The DSM and I had a nice celebratory supper this evening, actually eating in the dining room. Salmon, purple sprouting broccoli and roast potatoes. And......

HOLLANDAISE SAUCE. (Homemade, of course. Successfully!)

Yes, that's right, if you have all come round from your dead faint. Hollandaise, made from EGG YOLKS. And BUTTER. And oh brother, was it good.

So, take that, you food police. Life is for enjoying!

OK, a very pleasant few days, even if one or two things were rather unexpected. Well, an unplanned visit from a friend to share a pot of tea, paw through a lot of yarn and discuss patterns could never be bad. But there was this.

I was sitting on the sofa knitting away on this, being the purple cormo hopefully turning into a wrap (fingers crossed there is going to be enough yarn, as I eschewed the sensible suggestion of the DSM to knit, measure and calculate, as maths and I never do get on, so it wouldn't have worked anyway.)

purple cormo in prog

When there was a crash and a flurry of feline, suffering from a sudden bout of guilty conscience.


Now, our Christmas tree was not a minimalist effort this year, it had a full complement of well-placed lights and baubles. It did not look like the photo above. No, that was taken after I had picked up the poor wee thing from the ground to which it had tumbled and swept up the quantity of broken baubles and potting compost (we have a live, rented tree, this being the sort of place that it is) and partially straightened the lights. It is now restored to some sort of order.

It was the Snowshoes wot dun it, of course. But I didn't really need to say that, did I?

Now, the last yarn of 2008 is off the spinning wheel and looking rather nice. The other two Abby Franquemont batts, which got progressively thinner. Shawls or scarves, almost certainly.


I'm not in the mood for philosophising this evening, although that may come later. No real resolutions either, just some thoughts. One I have already mentioned, spindles in more places doing more things around the house. Another is not a fibre plan, but similar in concept. I have a wonderful collection of cookery books, and the plan is to take one each week and to cook at least one recipe from it. I'll report back - maybe - if I succeed.

I'm just going to say - I realise my good fortune, I have had a good year, and I do know that there are wonderful people out there that have not, one way and another. I think of them all from time to time, and devoutly wish that I could wave a magic wand and make things right, but none of us can ever do that for another.

But I can wish one and all the best that there can be for the next year. We are forecast for doom and gloom, but as long as we have words and music and laughter and kindness and hands outstretched, well then we shall get through whatever.

I've forgotten something - oh, yes, fibre!

I've forgotten something else.....

Happy New Year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

So, here we are

In the post-Christmas, pre-New Year lacuna.

My festive season so far has been very festive, thank you very much. The Christmas Eve gathering was lovely, and provided a totally new to me form of entertainment for several of the company.



Those strange, triangular shapes at the top of the photos are not my thumbs. I was completely sober, being designated driver. No, one of the cats was, not surprisingly, extremely interested in what was going on.

I hope I haven't grossed anyone out too much......

Christmas Day was lovely, very low-key, and not too over-indulgent. We had kedgeree and croissants for breakfast, and then ate chestnut and red wine pate en croute with various trimmings for the main meal at five o'clock, watched Dr Who and then had pud. Gifts were happily exchanged, phone calls made and feet were put up. Nice.

We took my sister home the next afternoon, following more loafing about and chatting, and she treated us to a very good Indian meal at her local restaurant, and Saturday, we went in to Manchester to go to the theatre. "See how they run", which was super, and wonderful funny entertainment.

Then yesterday, we had friends over for lunch, after which we sat in the sitting room with only the decorative lights on and left the curtains open as the daylight faded, chatting peacefully. Gorgeous.

Not much fibre stuff going on, although I did get in a bit of spinning. I have finished spinning the final Abby batt, and just have to ply it, which I hope to do today. the other thing I want to try to get done is the first thing on my New Year, new broom list. With all the lovely spindles that I have, I need to get more of them into use, so I want to set up spindling projects in various places (probably not the bathroom, though....) I want to do some sampling for yarn for crochet, and the two would combine just fine.

I need to do some more work on that list, too, for which I require some time and space - like now. The next couple of days. It is always a slightly odd time of year, it seems to me, so I might as well use it profitably.

Although, always the procrastinator, coffee first!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I aten't dead.

Merely suffering from an excess of Noro. Virus.

Serves me right for gloating about scoring some - the next day, both the DSM and I awoke feeling......oh, help. The rest of that Tuesday passed in a merciful blur. He has recovered well, for me, it has taken a little longer, dammit.

It meant, also dammit, that I had to miss AH, which annoyed me royally as I had really been looking forward to it. But I did get to York with everyone else for the festive picnic with the mater, so that was good.

All my good intentions of a graceful, stress-free, slow approach to our own midwinter festival went right out the window of course. And do you know, I am finding it matters not one whit. We have everything we need for a not too overindulgent time without me spending several overheated hours in the kitchen; the house is, or will be clean and tidy enough; some of the decorations have found themselves slowly gathering and attaching to suitable points; and in a very little while, I will finally have got around to wrapping the presents I have for the DSM!

Best of all, over the last couple of weeks, a social programme has kind of arranged itself. We had already booked to go to the theatre in Manchester on Saturday. Then at the anniversary do (from whence came the norovirus, somehow - several of the guests have also reported getting it) I had asked old friends over for a low-key lunch on the day after Boxing Day. But we were suddenly included in my niece's gathering of the clans for tonight, and the logistics of that mean that my sister will be with us for tomorrow, Christmas Day. During which we shall have one friend drop in, and we shall walk up the river to drop in in our turn on others. Snow would be the icing on the cake (groan) but that ain't going to happen. Plus there are further delights in store for the New Year weekend.

You know, I think we deserve this....

My weakened state of the last week has resulted in some fibre stuff getting done, but no pictures thereof. I dug out and finished off two of the three pairs of socks that were just lying around, and about time, too. I have knitted no less than three individual "Fetchings", of which two are a pair - the first came out too small, so I tweaked. I have cast on a scarf/stole with the purple cormo yarn. Too soon to tell yet if it will work. I could have done a better job of spinning this, although not exactly my fault as it was the first time I had ever tried it. Lovely stuff, but I was taken aback by how much it altered after washing.

Yes, I know. I should have sampled; well, I did, but I didn't wash the sample. So, all my own fault. Now I need another source for cormo roving, to do better next time.

I managed to get back to spinning eventually, and have nearly finished the last of the Abby batts. The final one has a kind of hairlike "bite" to it. I am spinning it very fine, and I think, unfortunately, that it will be perfect for lace. Ah, well.

And finally. The Solstice is passed, and Yule is in full swing. Enjoy your season however you celebrate it. I tip my glass to you all.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Better late than never

Our actual wedding anniversary was nearly two months ago, but it was only yesterday that we had the "official" party.

It was great. I enjoyed it so much, that I am even including a photograph of myself.


I have another couple I can include. I love all the ones that were taken on my camera, but most of them have something about them that their subjects would perhaps prefer were not in a public forum. I don't mean anything too awful, just slightly unfortunate paper hats, or the expression caught whilst pouring a glass of wine, that sort of thing. Lovely memories for me, though!

decoding the cheeses

In this one, one of our friends is busy decoding the map that came with the cheese board. These things are meant to be taken extremely seriously, dontcha know!

Here, one of those coincidences that you just couldn't imagine happening. Two of our friends, from opposite ends of the country, have never met before - and are now deep in conversation because they are both oboe players (I hadn't known that.) In fact, another two likewise turned out to have a mutual friend through an interest. Too cool.

the oboe players

Here, the DSM is deep in conversation with my oldest friend (we met when we were eight years old, at Primary school.)


The only trouble with a do like this is it is impossible to spend as much time as one would like with everyone. But I didn't do so badly, and it was a great day. Just wish some of them didn't live so far away.

Felt a bit of a sense of anticlimax today, so I consoled myself with a trip to Coldspring Mill on a yarn buying spree. Bargains to be had in Noro, Araucania and unidentified eco cotton.

Life really does have its moments......

Friday, December 12, 2008

Where did that week go, then?

In doing a fair bit, really, and some of it fibrey!

Saturday - to Manchester, for theatre and some Christmas shopping. The play was "A Taste of Honey" which I hadn't seen since the film version in the sixties. Very well done, and the content hadn't dated at all, still totally relevant if you tweak a few things.

Sunday, amongst other things, I dyed. by which I mean I threw the cormo into a vat of one of the liberated carpet factory dyes, simply as is, and it came out exactly the colour I wanted. Not quite as in the photo, I suspect, slightly less bluish.

purple cormo

Then, I've had a blitz on domestic chores. No need to bore anyone with minutiae, but with a few social things and Christmas upcoming, I wanted the ship to be a bit more shape.

Wednesday, a wonderful day with parts of the Coven and the extended Coven. Luscious food, none of which I had to cook, some knitting, and plenty of hilarious conversation, often about farting. This may seem a very little-boyish sort of topic, but there were reasons, and the humour was both funny and cathartic.

I finished the first "Fetching". Which was a disaster. Well, not really, but it was too small. I had done a gauge swatch, and I had known that my gauge was off a little, but I had thought only a tad. Not so. Here we have the revised version on the needles.

fetching in progress

Yesterday and today, I am carless, as the Jimny is having cosmetic surgery. The door needed fixing where the petty crim jabbed a screwdriver in to open the lock, and then there was the little contretemps that I had with a stone wall a few weeks ago.....ahem. (Basically, I forgot the this particular wall was slightly wider at the bottom than the railings that I could see and that I lined my wing mirror up with to gauge width when negotiating with a waggon at the end of the road.)

I've been spinning quite a bit, and doing some knitting, too. I have all sorts of things that I want to cast on, and am trying to restrain myself, but as the DSM has his office Xmas Bash this evening, leaving me (sob) all alone with no cooking to do bar something simple with pasta, and the bottle of single malt
- I may just indulge myself in various ways.

'Tis the parcel season - and I have been treating myself as well. these arrived in the last couple of days.

IST & Wildcrafty spindles

The one on the left is a resin whorl spindle from Wildcraft It is very pretty, but it does also spin well.

The one on the right is from IST, a lighter weight than the others I have (although I can't remember just at the minute what that is - duh...) Again, gorgeous to look at, but lovely to use, too. I am really pleased that there are some excellent spindle makers around in the UK now, and would wish for many more, except that it would do no good to my credit card balance at all!

So, there we are, all caught up. Today, I write Christmas cards. Yet again, I have failed to make my own. Every January, I say that I WILL do so, and I WILL START NOW. Yeah, right.

And then on Sunday, The Big Bash. Well, lunch with several friends in honour of our wedding anniversary of last October. Still can't get my head around it.......

Friday, December 05, 2008

I've been tagged

By Marie.

At least, I think I have - so here goes, anyway.

The instructions are to go to your sixth picture folder and pick your sixth picture.


Quite nice, I suppose. I photographed these hostas at Alston Hall, I know that much, but I don;t know when. Because I obviously didn't have time and date set on my camera as apparently it was taken in April 2013. Pretty cool, eh? Maybe I'm the new Doctor Who.......It was taken within the last two years, though, as it was done with my Samsung rather than the Finepix.

Although I like hostas, I could wish it had been a more interesting photograph, but never mind, it could have been worse.

So, in turn, I am tagging Barbara, Dalesgirl, I should be ironing, Penny and Beadlizard (because I can never have too much of Beadlizard's gorgeous photographs of the California coastline!)

The sixth of the sixth, and tag five, ok?

Fibrewise, I've cast on the Abby batt yarn for a pair of the "Fetching" cabled fingerless mitts from Knitty a while back. It's beautiful to knit with, and should be nice and warm. I've finished spinning the second of the batts, and would have got it plyed last night only my drive band got bitten through yet again. this gets tiresome - it's a family failing, apparently, either their sister or mother does it. Maybe both.

Just as well they are so cute.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A rare sighting of my fabulous Jacob sweater

Many years ago, when I was but a novice spinner, I used to spin a lot of Jacob fleece. Generally in the grease, straight from the sack (we all did in those days). So I ended up with a stash of thick, slightly lumpy bumpy, bi-coloured yarn, and no idea what to do with it, because I had, of course, just spun it with no project in mind.

Neither was I that enthusiastic a knitter. Again, like so many others, I was simply happy to have a basketful of yarn handspun by moi. There, was a huge and entirely justified sense of achievement about that.

But changes began to happen, and one of the early manifestations was that I wanted to take my lovely yarn on to that next level. And I wanted this to happen kind of overnight. Patience has never been my strong suit. So, I doubled up the yarn (I had about three fleeces-worth) and dug out one of the enormous knitting needles that I had bought eons before for a purpose I couldn't remember, and cast on a ginormous odd-pin garter stitch SWEATER. Four rectangles. Joined together strategically, and welts appended. Comme ca...

fabulous jumper

You are not getting a head shot, I've just washed my hair and I'm all wet rat's tails.

On days like today, when the frost hasn't lifted all day and the air has smelled of snow and ice, and the sun has shone and made everything all sparkly and it has been very, very cold - the fabulous, ginormous Jacob sweater comes right into its own. This doesn't happen very often these days, so is always a treat to be relished. So, there I am, all muffled up in my three fleeces with room for toasty air besides, happy as Larry (presumably the Lamb....)


I am also extra-chuffed today because I have just found out that Jenny Dean now has a blog. I've only had time for a quick squizz thus far, but it looks absolutely beautiful, and being Jenny will be stuffed full of interest and information.

And now, having actually done some housework in a fit of enthusiasm, I am going to sit on the sofa in my sweater, and knit.

BTW, not fibre or anything like it related, but I am thinking that my pc has some issues with svc.exe files, which I gather can happen. Anyone know anything about this?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Woke up this morning..... this.

towards the bridge

Well, I say "woke up" - "was woken" is nearer the mark. The DSM had tried to get his car out at the usual sort of time of 6.45, and failed miserably. There it was, stuck across the lane, and reinforcements were necessary. Fortunately, a neighbour appeared on the scene as well, and our car was soon more or less returned to base, and neighbour, with a straight run at the lane, was out.


So, this is us (the further half).


And this is up the lane.

ruby in the snow

This is Ruby, enjoying every minute of the new experience. At one point, she was racing around and her back paws slipped on a more icy patch. She stopped dead, turned round and looked at her back end with a gaze of absolute disbelief and disgust! Not that it stopped her for long.

barn in snow

Anyway, Barni was not impressed at all, a feeling much more typical of felines, I would say.

There are a few more photos on Flickr, just click on an image and look for the set. should you be as enamoured of snow as I am. I tend to come over all child-like with glee, we get so little of it.

But it has been great today, the DSM couldn't get in to work, but as I have a 4WD, we could go out, so we slithered around doing a bit of Christmas shopping, including some really cute decorations - I should photograph those, maybe - and one or two presents. Plus some more mundane errands that had really needed the two of us, but we just hadn't had time.

It has thawed some, but up here has also snowed some more. There could be more fun to come.

Oh, goody, goody.

Monday, December 01, 2008

If someone could just reach up and catch the trailing end of my shawl, please? Hold on tight, and drag me back down to earth?

Phew, that's better - I think....

Last night, the DSM and I did something that for us was very brave and very unusual. (We are such sweet, old-fashioned things.) We went to the MEN Arena, holding in our hot (courtesy of lovely hand knit gloves) little hands tickets that we very much hoped were legit, as I had bought them off eBay. (At great expense.)*

I was, of course, worrying completely unnecessarily on every score, as I always do. Apart from being considerably overawed by the sheer scale of the place, everything went swimmingly.

I suppose that my other, slightly secret anxiety had been that it wouldn't live up to my hopes. Despite the rave reviews. But it did. Oh, boy, did it.

Three hours of magic. (Well, not quite on the video clip, the sound isn't all that good.)

Like this.

And it may be that not all of you actually like Leonard Cohen as much as we do.....

But we loved every minute of it. Great musicians, great staging and the master himself. I'm so glad we finally got to see him.

Plus, if that's what seventy five looks and sounds like......

(Oh, sorry, no pics. I did try, but it was too dark for the camera on my phone.)

*The expense was more than worth it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Babbling on.

I can't for the life of me think of a title for this blog post. Perhaps if I just launch straight in to blathering, some gem will occur to me? Or not......

Friday was an AH day, and, I think, a good one. Yet again a crowd of folk, and two people missing. One newbie, who was very pleasant. Had spun years ago, and was so sure that she had forgotten everything, but of course had not, and by the end of the day was spinning a fairly fine and even yarn.

And apparently, the day in December that went in as an extra because no-one wanted to miss the Christmas lunch is also pretty booked up. I'm looking forward to that, should be a lovely day - but then, aren't they all?

Yesterday, the DSM and I went over to near Harrogate to meet a bunch of Ravellers who wanted to have a session spinning. They have a great set-up over there, with enough of them to have their own Ravelry Group and regular meets. Anyway, it all seemed to go pretty well, I think people enjoyed themselves, and hopefully learnt something! Had a long chat with someone about perceptions of whether or not there was more interest in crafts in general and spinning in particular. Well, not exactly that, I don't mean that there are more new spinners relative to other crafts of course, just whether or not I thought there was an increase in interest in spinning as well. Which I do. Partly riding the same wave with the knitters, but not just that.

Anyway, I'm really babbling here, I am absolutely frozen. I love the weather we have at the moment, but this room I am in gets so very cold. I need to hunt out the little fan heater we got last year.

Anyway, apropos of both those thing....Driving back over the tops from Harrogate, we had the sunset and the frost and the fog at it's most picturesque. We stopped a couple of times - fortunately, I had my camera with me. So, enjoy these!




Being down in the valley as we are, we rarely see sunsets -= the occasional spectacular sunrise, but not even those all that often. So, this was greatly enjoyed.

And, I still can't think of a title. Bither. Or even bother - really must re-mark this keyboard, my "touch typing" isn't, and several characters have been obliterated.

OK, I'll stop babbling...ah ha!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Eccentric circles 1

I have indeed finished the crocheted scarf. and I really like it. I have a photograph......

eccentric circles 1

..which is not very good, but the best I can manage today as there is no daylight. It is, in fact, a vile day. Not only gloomy as hell, but dank, too. I may just have to scream.

But at least I have an FO.

This, remember, started out to be a shawl, but I realised, having done many circles, that I wasn't going to have sufficient yarn. Plus, I didn't like the shape I was getting. Working on this has enabled me to think this over subliminally, and I now realise that it could be done better with circles of different sizes, and an irregular placement.....

Another project for the slow-burning queue.

So, the scarf 3ill be washed and blocked, and maybe then I can get a good shot of it. Meanwhile, I am finally going to drag out the drum carder and at least see if one of the drive bands that I have will fit.

Otherwise, more screaming may be necessary.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The weekend

I sometimes have fantasies about My Ideal Weekend, involving roaring log fires or hot sunny days, quiet strolls through snow or along sunkissed beaches, slow leisurely meals in romantic country locations, sitting on a rock watching water gently flow....

I wake up. Oh, don't get me wrong, we have great weekends. And we do these days make strenuous efforts to have one All Go Day, one rather calmer. Things fall through the cracks, of course, like house maintenance, Christmas shopping - you can imagine. We generally get caught up eventually. So.

Saturday was the busybusy. We were, we thought, helping out someone at the Supreme Cat Show at the National Exhibition Centre. Um, no. So it was after all a leisure day, but one involving a nearly three hour drive each way. However, it was extremely interesting and enjoyable, we saw some fabulous cats, chatted to a few people, and increased the Snowshoes' collection of toys a bit, for which they are very grateful. (Rubbish, of course - no cat is ever grateful for anything. It is all their due.)


A snowshoe being judged.

new toy2

As for toys - why should those young whippersnappers have all the fun, eh?

new toy3

On the other hand....

OK, so Sunday, minimal chores, a long leisurely breakfast, and then lunch at the Bear cafe in Tod with some of the knitters. The place was really busy, unlike last time, no doubt because the weather was showery and chilly, not warm and sunny. But the staff are very tolerant of the needles, and we don't stint in the indulgence in the coffees and the smoothies and the good food...and the cake. We spent a good couple of hours before trundling home so that the DSM could see the rugby highlights, although I think he may have regretted that! (England more than lost, they were annihilated!)

Nothing new on the needles or hook, same old, same old although making slow progress all round. However, I do have an idea for a more major project, I need to do some sketches (sic). I am still spinning - I have one bag of the "Safflower" spun and plyed, and have started another. these are a little different form the first ones, so I think a mitred, patchworky kind of thing will indeed work best.

But for today, I need to finish the washing first, maybe consider for a moment actually cleaning something (pause....nah.) Then drag out the crochet circles scarf which keeps looking at me balefully from the basket, and maybe even finish it.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's a kind of magic

Thank you for all the helpful comments about sleeping difficulties. I do get up, rather than just lie there, way too boring even with an iPod. I'd rather listen to that whilst spinning or knitting. I have now rediscovered the delights of Ovaltine, and certainly the first time I tried it, it worked a treat. We shall have to see.

Of course, I should be in bed and slumbering peacefully now, but being a Thursday it must be Coven, and I am always wakeful after driving back. So I took my Ovaltine to the computer, and managed not to spill it over the keyboard....anyway, a blog post is due.

I had two people come to me today for a spinning lesson - they have (I think) joined the Guild as well. They picked up spindling pretty quickly (although, like most people, they didn't think so. Anyway, I sent them home with a borrowed spindle apiece, and a chunk of lovely Falkland top to practise with. Again, both of them knitters wanting to take it that step further. The resurbence of knitting is having all sorts of effects, some of which at least will stick. One of the good things happening at the moment.

I have been spinning myself. I started on the first of the batts from Abby Franquemont that I picked up at SOAR. What I neglected to do, fool that I am, was to ask what the fibres were. Silk, yes, I get that. I'm just not sure about the rest of it, though! Anyway, it spun up beautifully, a super blended prep.

yarn from abbybatt1

But I'm putting the other two blends on hold, as Freyalynn dropped of the extra "Safflower" colourway that I had asked for, and I want to get that done so I can get knitting. It is such a pretty colourway, without being icky - not that Freyalynn would be capable of producing anything icky, of course.

Frequently while I knit or spin, I listen to not only audiobooks on my iPod, but podcasts as well. I've been through quite a few in my time, some of which I have stuck with. Cast On, of course. My absolute favourite if only because Brenda Dayne has a voice that I could listen to forever. Voices are incredibly omportant to me, and for that reason, many podcasts are completely unlistenable to. (Many people will have the same delicacies about grammar, and will be rushing away from this blog post in screaming hordes. Sorry - I tend to the informal and colloquial, dancha know....)

Content does, though matter, don't get me wrong. Cast On has it in spades.

Others I like - Lime and Violet, although it is getting very repetitious. Maybe inevitable, with a long running thing. I'm trying Stitch It at the mpoment, but am not quite convinced - the voice. However, content is reasonable, and the woman has an extremely infectious laugh which redeems it a little bit.

No Brit ones that I am aware of at the moment, and I would love to be told otherwise - BritKnitCast, Knitty Nora and Lixie Knits it have all vanished, oh and KnitCast, these were all good and I miss them.

But hey, there is a new kid on the block. Now, maybe it is just me that finds this notion so attractive, but a podcast that is about a little bit of knitting and a lot of psychology? It's called CogKNITive, which is intelligent, always a draw, and I like the style of delivery a lot. She's doing one per week, though. This might just crash and burn.

All podcasts still extant are on iTunes, so hence no links. Well, that's my story, anyway.

OK, let's try bed, now......

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Spindling all the way

Whatever that means.

I did, I promise, take my camera. But there was no time, I tell you, none whatsoever, to even think about getting it out let alone aiming and firing. Oof!

We were at York Guild yesterday, booked to give a talk on pension funding, I mean our spindle collection. Followed by a workshop, which I had thought was to be with akha and supported spindles. But we did think to go prepared for anything to happen......

Their meeting room was packed. We rabbitted on for an hour, displaying our collection, talking about just what, in our view, makes for a good spindle, demoing a little bit. Then we were nicely entertained at lunch, and back into the fray.

I had expected that a lot of people would have left at lunchtime, but if anything there seemed to be more! And they wanted top whorl spindles as well as akhas and taklis. So, the great advantage of there being two of us, we got them split into two groups and he took one and I took the other.

I counted just how many whilst I was handing out fibre to work with, and I had seventeen participants! And two of those had never spun anything on anything. Ulp. The DSM reckoned he had around a dozen.

And it went amazingly well. No complete failures or disasters, quite a lot of very nice yarn spun, and then a quick whizz through plying. What is more, after that, I finally learned what "nostepinne" means - winding stick. Obvious, when you come to think of it. Pronounciation, too - nursterpinne.

There, as I have so often said, I always manage to learn something in a workshop......

It really was a very nice day, and I hope - think - that all those who took part enjoyed it too. Mind, we were absolutely shattered by the time we got home, and collapsed in front of the tv with a curry, before a little restorative spinning/knitting.

And of course, then I didn't sleep well again. I'm getting truly fed up with this. Blergh.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I'm still here.....

Just a bit silent.

I've been struggling this week, somewhat. Not totally perky. Happens sometimes, doncha know. Wish it didn't, but there you are.

Still, onward and upward.

I've been out and about, still catching up with friends, and I have been doing stuff. Yes, I have actually managed to keep on doing stuff, not necessarily any major stuff, but never mind.


This is some of the cormo, which is very nearly finished. I have enjoyed spinning it very much. Despite my original misgivings, it was only a very little bit of it that was at all neppy, and there has been minimal VM. I have been able to spin it so easily, using a more or less one handed extended draw, just occasionally needing the other hand to help ease out (or in!) a bit of a slub. So, it should be nice and pouffy, and knit up well. I intend doing a stole type wrap, ie rectangular, but I don't as yet know exactly how. Maybe a simple cable - it could be time.......

I also have to decide whether to dye it as yarn, or wait until I have knitted it. I would like to do the latter, as it worked so well with the last shawl, but I am somewhat concerned that the end product will be quite a bit bulkier and might not fir in to my largest dye pot. So, instead of having the entire knitting time to mull over what colour I want, I might have to wait before starting on the project.

Then, I have a tiny FO.


This is s mini curlywurly scarf to wear as a necklace. Not an original idea, but shamelessly cribbed. The yarn is Chasing Rainbows bombyx/merino spun very fine, and with luck there is enough to finish the "seaweed" scarf (also shamelessly ripped off) that I have just cast on.

Also on the go is a sample for a Vivien Hoxbro stole, and some energised singles yarn that I stared spinning last night at Coven, over sticky date cake from the local market. (And yes, I did manage to keep crumbs away from the fibre!) The fibre is from my SOAR goody bag, which I started spinning with no clear purpose in mind, but fortunately had my brainwave before starting the second half, so I just have to remember to spin "S" again when I restart.

Now I need to go round up some of our own spindles to take to York tomorrow. We are doing a talk in the morning and then a workshop in the afternoon. Not actually our preferred format, but we have done it successfully before, so it will be ok.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Could have been worse......

I've been in to the Big City to have lunch with a friend today. (Very nice it was, too.) When I go in to the Big City, I don't drive, I get the train, only these days it is impossible to park at our nearest station, I have to go to the next one down the line. Which I now realise has a distinct disadvantage to so doing.

Got back to my car at the same time as the woman at the adjacent car, who I thought I heard exclaim. Soon found out why - the lock on the driver's side door had been forced. Hers, and several others had had windows smashed in. At least my door lock is still functioning and I don't have to rush off to Autoglass to get a replacement side window.

And even better, nothing was deemed worthy of stealing. My Barbour was way to old and untrendy, and they didn't even see the rather nice umbrella that was my father's that lives in the back as well. The distinctly un-cool, bottom of the range radio and cassette (yes! really!) player was still in situ. They had riffled around and obviously also disdained the twenty pence piece that is in there for an emergency car parking fee. So the stupid little toe rags got nothing for their pains, thank goodness.

Except. One pair of bamboo knitting needles. Will someone tell me why a teenage sneak thief should want a pair of freakin' bamboo knitting needles!?! They even took the knitting off them first!

Now, that is weird.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Remember, remember

I think I may have used that as a title for a post in a previous year. but it gained another resonance today.

I veer between relishing the good in our world - friends, felines, fibre, food of the natural and wholesome variety, the fun and frivolity that can be found in music, theatre, poetry, art, opera and books, the realm of natural things; and truly despairing about the greed and chicanery, the abuses, the cruelties, the idolisation of the meretricious. And most of that stems from the realm of governments and those who stand behind them. (What me? A conspiracy theorist? Nooooooooo!)

Of late years, because of that, I haven't listened to or watched much of what we are told is "news". But, not sleeping all that well last night (and I wonder why that was?) I did hear quite a bit of the night-long broadcasting from the USA on the election results.

Now, it could so easily be said that whatever transpires in the corridors of power of Washington DC matters not one bit to me in my little rural enclave in Yorkshire. But that would be so wrong, in so many ways that I'm not, just not, going to go there. Oh, it matters, actually and spiritually (for want of a better word.)

And so, there has been....a wind of change (yes, I'm old enough to remember that, too.) Watching the television news this lunchtime, it was just amazing to see the exultation on so many faces. Not to mention the tears on Jesse Jackson's face. As well as the obvious, I think that it has to have been a measure of just how badly so many have been feeling, like me, about the state of the world over the last few years. And now, just maybe, there could be that wind starting up, and I would like to remember that tiny feeling of possibility.

So, having waxed lyrical, now - a rant. Well, a small one. Will someone please tell Fisher Price Toys to remove that stupid ad from the television? The one that urges you to get the latest toy for your little angel called "Magic Rattle Pooh"? Because I'm telling you, the image it conjures up is not in the least sweet or Christmassy!!

And to fulfil the foremost purpose of this blog, some fibre-talk. I have been spinning quite a bit since we got back from SOAR, and have completed these:

Safflower yarns

Wool tops, and camel and silk in the "Safflower" colourway from Freyalynn. I think I need some more to do what I'm aiming at, though - a "lazy" mitred square wrap. I will be sampling soon.

I'm also spinning the pound of cormo that I got at Rhinebeck. A little bit neppy, but I think it will be fine when plyed and any slightly lumpy bits squdged in. Another wrap in mind - I need to find a pattern, but that won't be too hard, they are quite the thing at the moment.

OK. My little angel.


You can tell he is a little angel by the red eyes, right? (The slightly dopey look is because he is nesting on a lovely handspun, handknit jacket next to a warm radiator, by the way.

The angel was responsible for this:

Barnied silk

Not yet sure how much is salvageable.

I'll remember this all right.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Shameless display of booty

I collect hand spindles. I can attempt, reasonably successfully, that as we teach spindle spinning, a good representative collection is essential. I can say, completely honestly, that I only buy ones that work well, and that I will use, over time. I can joke, with an insouciant laugh, that they represent my pension fund (something of a hollow laugh, these days, of course.)

But in all honesty, what I really am is .......

A spindle slut. Oops.

This, finally unearthed from the luggage, is our latest spindle haul.

Avi Wasserman and Bosworth spindles

A gorgeous, weighty Avi Wasserman, and a Bosworth mini (yes, really, looks rather bigger to me), the latter in dogwood and rosewood, and very pretty. Well, they both are.


Two lovely Forresters.

Hatchtown and Lily spindles

One from Hatchtown Farm, and a "Lily" spindle. Whorl made from Corian, of all things, but nevertheless spins like a dream. I didn't like the prettier wood ones, way over-light for my taste.


A lovely Spindlewood, in snakewood. Who could resist>

Tabachek Tibetan

A Tibetan style spindle by Edward Tabachek. Lovely cherry wood. Also irresistible.


And finally, two little Goldings. The one on the right is mine, the other, the DSM's. There are many and wonderful Goldings, but they are getting hideously expensive. Works of art, but.....

Now, I need to get each room in the house set up with a spindle again, so that I can do some serious production work. One in the handbag, to carry everywhere with me. Because, you see, I really do enjoy the process.

And finally, a little colour from around these, rather than foreign parts.

red leaves


Plus, it's cold! The coven met this evening, the first time in ages, lovely! but when I got home, the sky was nearly clear, and the stars where brilliant. Are we going to have a real winter, then? Or is it just an illusion?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Part the third

Nearly done, now!

The end of SOAR saw (oops!) us moving on to a house near Woodstock. The DSM and I have spent probably too many holidays driving way too much, and we have started finding oursleves nice places to use as a base.

Right, well, I started this this afternoon and ran out of time. Now, for some strange reason I am sitting at the computer at half past midnight, so reckon I might as well get the post done. Why am I here? Maybe we should ask the DSM that (sigh). His ritual post holiday insomnia, which can wash over on to me. Ah, well.

What did we do? We had a good time, that's what. So there isn't all that much to say about it. I think what I will do is put up what photographs I want (there will undoubtedly be more on Flickr, so click to enter and go see if you so wish. Then I can just add the odd explanatory note, 'k?

where we stayed

House, followed by out back.

trees @ house

We then spent our time recovering from colds, finding nice food and wine, knitting, and finding yarn shops. We started at the famous Countrywool


The sharp-eyed amongst you will immediately notice that this is not me. This is, of course, Sara.
And going to her blog to get the url, I realise that (not surprisingly, in view of the fact that we went to the same places, some of our ohotograohs are, shall we say, similar. I'll try not to duplicate.....

OK, so much time spent photographing leaves, trees, water.

Hudson river


trees & water

trees & water

We visited some of the small towns in the Hudson River Valley, Catskill, Tivoli, Saugerties. I fell in love with them all.

Catskill buildings

Catskill cat

Saugerties Lighthouse

Then, at the end of the week, we moved on to a rather splendid bed and breakfast place. This was what we could see from our bedroom balcony.

Minnewaska Lodge

Minnewaska Lodge

And this was what we could see in our respective bedrooms from time to time, just in case we were getting to miss our own darlings too much!

Picture of Lily

And the grand finale? Well, not the conversation in the restaurant with two drunken rock climbers - why did we spin yarn rather than buy it? Why did they climb to the top of the cliff instead of taking the funicular, not that there was one, but you get the drift, no?

No, this was the grand finale (sorry about the wobble, taken from a moving vehicle.)

Rhinebeck sign


Fried food plus fibre. Too much fun.

Yeah, it was. Now that I have written it all up, I find I am feeling....what? Not sure. Missing the blue skies, the golden leaves, the people. Oh, I have my own tribe here, of course, and get them all gathered together and the same sort of mayhem can apply. But. But.

Never mind, great memories. Two stand out.

One was talking to someone and revealing the full horror of my real and actual age, and being told that I was..... a great role model. Not quite sure exactly how I feel about that one - thrilled, I think.

The other was having only been for a few minutes at Rhinebeck, and having been told that it was unlikely that I would run in to any of the people I knew to be there. When an American voice said "I know you!"

"You could well do - I go to SOAR."

"Not SOAR", she says. "WOOLFEST!!"

The threads that we spin and weave and dye intertwine and link us in ways we know not of, sometimes, indeed they do.

(Buggrit, the Blogger spellchecker is on the blink yet again. this is no doubt full of typos and idiocies. Too freakin' bad. I'll maybe edit tomorrow.)