Wednesday, April 30, 2008

There and back again

Despite all the alarums and excursions with Max, a great weekend. Everything went very smoothly, our talk was well received and seemingly our workshop much enjoyed. They were a grand bunch of people, made us very welcome and were enthusiastic participants. What more can anyone ask, eh?

Spending time with L&M is always good, we don't so it nearly often enough. Mind you, I'm not sure just how easy it would be to fit in many more visits!

We didn't leave until Monday morning, and as it was a gorgeous day, took an hour to revisit old haunts, which were looking particularly spectacular in the Spring sunshine.


pres lodge1


It all seems such a very long time ago.........

Anyway, to more important matters. Max is home!! The vets are very pleased with him, he has stood the surgery so well. There was only one tumour, and they took it all, so if the internal stitches hold (and it will be horrendous if they don't) he should make a full recovery. What no-one can tell is for how long, but apparently the prognosis in cases like this is excellent.

When I picked him up, he wowed at me, and the vet asked if he spoke a lot, as he had been almost completely silent whilst with them. Neither had he moved much. I said that it was probably neurotic siamese syndrome, and I was, of course, quite right. He yelled all the way home, and when let out of he box, crashed around the house for ages, visiting everywhere, jumping on to things without seemingly a care in the world. He did eventually settle down, thank goodness, as I felt I had to follow him around in case he hurt himself or the babies bounced too vigorously.

Anyway, he is eating well, and has had wet food as well as drinking some - dehydration has been a problem. There are still things that could go wrong, and he is on antibiotics until the weekend. But to my amazement, things are looking good!

We didn't nickname him Bam Bam for nothing!

Oh - nearly forgot. Obligatory kitten picture. They are in my knitting basket, the little baskets.......


Friday, April 25, 2008

Long day

It's 6.30 and I am exhausted! Fortunately, there is a large quantity of very nice soup in the fridge, so I don't have to cook. I have a fresh mug of tea to hand, and the prospect of a more robust drink in a while.......

So, why?

We realised last weekend that Max the seal point had become used to the kids. Great. but we also realised that all was not well with him, things that were off had been masked by what had been going on, and other factors that I needn't go on about. So, anyway, we made an appointment with the vet, and she found a large tumour in his gut. Buggrit. She sent blood off, and we started waiting.

Bloods came back reasonably good. He was quite well enough to stand an investigation, and if appropriate, surgery. So, that has been today. Deeper manual exam, then radiology, and having got that far with no nasty surprises, the surgery went ahead.

And thus far, he's hanging in there. The vet got the one tumour all away, and he had no problems with the anaesthetic. Now we have to wait to see how he deals with recovery and healing. Poor little sod, he isn't going to be enjoying the next few days. I'm going to be keeping as much as possible crossed consistent with teaching a workshop this weekend!

That's the other thing I have been doing today - rounding up all the stuff for the workshop and talk. The latter we have rehearsed a bit but are basically going to wing, drawing on previous workshops and so on. The workshop won't be finalised until we get there and find out exactly what they wan to do, but it will be some or all of what we have done many times before. Not that that means that we go on to autopilot! Every occasion is different, different people, different dynamics. But we are familiar to say the least with our basic material and can slice and dice as necessary.

I'm looking forward to it - a guild we haven't been to before, though we will know some people. And we are staying with good friends who we don't see often enough. The mogs are staying home with a friend coming in to feed and check on them; and Max will get good care with the vet.

But I can't help crossing my fingers - it's going well, but....can't help worrying!

Still. a couple of good things today - a huge box from Traci Bunkers full of the most luscious fibre for Woolfest. And lunch with my sister, over in HB with a friend.

OK, off to pack clothes, not an easy task now that we are more or less in changeover season!

Monday, April 21, 2008

This and that...and kittens

Of course. I'm not tired of them yet.


Isn't this the sweetest, most innocent little thing?


Don't you believe it, of either of them. (I caught the other one by the tail as she disappeared through the outer cat flap this morning - I do hope that I have more than nine lives.)

The only time I can relax is when they are all asleep.


As they are now, all together and cosy on a slightly bleak afternoon.

Of course, I can shut the doors on them and leave the house, as I did on Friday, which was an AH day. A very pleasant one, as usual. We looked at, broadly speaking, cellulosics. Mainly flax and cotton, and two or three people were persuaded to try the latter and actually enjoyed it, I think. Once I can get them using the modified around the corner "long draw" technique, people do tend to find it easier if not fluent. I now need to actually get around to finishing the scrubbies in flax and hemp that I started for the purposes of illustration.

Saturday was Guild. We decided at the very last minute that we would rush around like mad things and find the many materials that we needed to do the scheduled workshop, so squoze in the doors at the chime of eleven. Only to find that the speaker had not - and did not - turn up. We were all a bit worried in fact, as that is not like her, and we are just crossing our fingers that all is well.

Still, I had my wheel with me, and spent a very pleasant few hours chatting with people and continuing to spin the merino/soy blend.

Yesterday, we spent quietly at home (don't faint.) I did do a very, very little light housework, plus a bit of reorganising in the work room. Some weeks ago, we bought me a nifty thing on wheels with wire mesh baskets that slide in and out from IKEA. This being to store my bead stash in a more user-friendly fashion. I finally got round to shifting everything over, and then started to put some other stuff away. There's more to do (isn't there always?) I might snatch an hour later this aft, as long as Be-el and Zebub don't come a-hammerin' on the door. Shatters me nerves something shocking, that does.

Oh - Rubes has just discovered (again) that she has a tail. If she's not careful, she's going to fall off.........the window sill!

Anyway - I also managed a bit of shawl knitting yesterday. I'm quite - nearly - almost getting to enjoy it?


So I could spend the afternoon doing that.....

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My on-going love-hate relationship with Amazon

Described thus because I love it for its convenience and 24-hour availability, hate it for the way it positively forces me to spend money.....

Actually, in this instance, I have gone off them because they have screwed up. I made an order and then realised that I had ordered the same book twice, so went back in, cancelled the whole thing and re-did it. Only somehow the system retained part of the order. And I can't cancel the duplicate as the website is telling me it is too late. So, I shall just have to return it, or find another home for it when it comes.

Anyway, what I really wanted to say was - how about all these spiffy new books on spinning then, eh? In the last few months, I have bought three.

The one that arrived this morning is the Maggie Casey one. Then, there was Judith McKenzie McCuin's Spinning Visually. And then the one by Alison Deakin and Jane Deane, Spinning Creatively.

They are all worth having a look at. The one by JMc I think should be very good for some beginners, particularly those who learn best by observation (duh!) And of course, I can't at this minute check which bits I particularly like/dislike as I have lent mine to someone! The Deakin/Deane one is beautiful to look at, quite gorgeous. But remarkably lacking in substance! I know some find it inspirational, but sadly, it doesn't work for me - twenty-two pages of "how-to" from fibre to fancy yarns, the rest is fabulous photographs and minimal text on types of fancy-ish yarn that you could spin for yourself. I really wanted to like this book more, and it is fine to flick through from time to time, but instructional manual it surely ain't.

The Maggie Casey one - Start Spinning, everything you need to know to spin great yarn. Well, it did only arrive this morning and I haven't had time to do more than have a quick look, but it seems to be an absolute corker. Nice balance of text and illustration, and really sound and sensible text, too (ie,what I would say in similar circumstances :-)!)

But the really important thing is of course that there has been this sudden rush to print. Publishers don't do this out of the good of their hearts, and it must be an indication of a much healthier state of play in the fibre world, surely? Oh, I know, these things ebb and flow - but I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts!

As for me, I still spin - silk, not amazingly well. Partly me, partly the prep, which has been in the stash a bit too long and had maybe suffered a bit in the dyeing, too. We shall see. And I still knit. For whatever reason, I drug out the simple lace shawl I started in alpaca yesterday, ripped out the entire inch I had done (triangular design, starting at the bottom....) and began again. Got a bit further! I could almost enjoy this is i had the concentration and the kitten-free time to get on with it.

And speaking of, as they grow so fast, I can't not put in the odd photo from time to time, can I?

sleeping again

Starting to run out of room on this perch.


Butter wouldn't melt, eh? I think this one could be a candidate for a cheezburger caption.

And finally - the DSM getting a lot of help spinning cotton. (He's watching tv, too, hence the goofy expression.)

help with spinning1

OK, they've gone quiet, I'd better go see what they are doing and tell them to stop it.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A photo-free post

No exciting or cute photos of the spawn of hell. Nothing much on the fibre front, either. Stuff has been done, but none of it that photo-worthy.

Aforementioned spawn - now rechristened Be-el and Zebub - have had a few highly energetic days, leaving me with little concentration and less energy! The person responsible for their existence is coming to visit this afternoon - shall I send them home with her? No. Despite their kittenish hellaciousness, they are loving and cute and will develop into beautiful, calm grown-up cats one day. (Please....)

So all I have done this week is some highly necessary housework (cat litter gets everywhere), some more spinning of more silk, and some desultory knitting. Apropos of the silk. I broke my own advice (again) and am suffering for it. So, here it is again, slowly and carefully, and I will listen.

If you have a limited amount of silk spun that you want to ply from a centre-pull ball, do not under any circumstances leave the ball without some sort of support in the core. Repeat....under any circumstances.

Said ball WILL collapse into unsortable tangles. And it did. Now I have to reball it, and will lose some of the silk in the process. Silly me.

Thursday was a busy day, visitors and visiting. Nice, though. Then yesterday, the DSM had suggested a trip to Manchester to the theatre, we hadn't been for ages and ages, probably a year. Just managed to scrape a couple of return tickets to "The Glass Menagerie".

I had never seen it before, and wow, I loved it. Not what I had expected - my impression of Tennessee Williams from film was of overblown and overdramatic stuff. This wasn't (yes, I know, different directors &etc) The cast was superb, all four well-matched, and with to my ear, well-crafted accents. Amanda was played by Brenda Blethyn as a most believable character with strong resemblance to my own dear mama (how did she do the research, eh?) But with a few redeeming features so you didn't dislike her completely. When she appears to greet "the Gentleman Caller" she has affixed fake ringlets to her hair, and somehow manages to bounce and shake them in a delicious parody of the young girl she once was. Magic! And the long scene between the GC and Laura was touching in the extreme. We made sure we booked for The Revenger's Tragedy and Hay Fever before we left, to make sure of catching them. We could just fit them in to our busy schedule - just.

Before, I did a modicum (ahem) of clothes shopping at my favourite store that has inconsiderately moved out of the centre to Chorlton cum Hardy. And after, we had a very good Chinese meal at the nearby restaurant we have used before we has had something of a re-vamp, for the better, and was buzzing.

Today, I am going to spend girding my loins for the week ahead, because I have a lot to do that isn't getting done because of you-know-who. A bit of gardening if the weather picks up - if not, well, I'll find something. A good weekend, anyway.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Another day.....

One on which I have felt less than perky. I could not get off to sleep on Friday night - I was still wandering around at 3am. And we had to get up fairly early to go to York to see the mater the next day. Still, I managed, we had a successful visit - she has a (I think mild) chest infection following on from a cold, theses things always spread like wildfire in hot care homes, don't they? But she was quite perky for a while, so I don't think I need to be too anxious - this time. She is ninety next month - not that she would thank me for saying so publicly - and it doesn't do to forget that. And I have no clue what to get her for a birthday gift. She has asked for perfume, but she asks for that for every Christmas and birthday now, and although I shall get her some as that is what she wants, I would like to think of something a little bit special.

Anyway - home via a pet supermarket to stock up on kitty toys. The most successful so far being a little tunnel with a fluffy ball on an elastic attached. Spoiled brats.

Even though I went to bed quite early and slept really well last night, I have felt a bit death warmed up-ish today. It's often that way, though - hopefully, another early night will sort me out. But some of the things i had intended to get on with today haven't materialised, I fear. Not to worry. Tomorrow is another day.

I have been spinning some more silk. I've moved on from greens to deep reds, practically aubergines. Very nice. This is still in the thicker style of silk spinning. When these are done, I will do some fine on the Lendrum, it will all make a good contrast in various projects.

While we were out yesterday, we left the four mogs together, each pair with a bedroom as refuge. I was slightly anxious about doing this, as Max had regressed a bit on Friday and swatted Ruby rather hard. But all survived, and have enjoyed a day of cuddles and pampering with nice foody titbits today. With this result:

four sleeping

This was the first time that all four had slept together on our bed, so I thought it was worth recording!

And here are the two usual suspects on the perch - but methings the kids have grown a bit, there seems to be more hanging over the edges than there was!


I have only managed one video clip so far - they move so dam' fast. Here it is, for what it is worth. And no, this isn't two giant panthers, it's two littlw kittens.

Oh, and my Timbertops survives, thus far.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Every day, a new adventure!

Every door that is opened is one that has to be gone through, for a kitten. For a kitten, each new thing encountered has to be thoroughly explored.

That is why I am to be seen every time I go to the cupboard under the stairs standing on one leg waving the other around in mid-air at kitten height. This is a vain attempt to stop them from getting in and right to the back which leads gawd knows where.

And why, every time I hear a sound that might be a cat flap, I have to stop what I am doing and rush to check. Because they are clever little buggers, and Ruby has already been found on the "wrong" side of it and Barni is nearly there. I have never before in all these long years come across kittens who have even been able to work this out fro themselves, let alone so early.

No wonder I am exhausted!

But spinning has been done.


I don't think the colour on this is brilliant, but I'm on the laptop so it is hard to tell for sure. The skein on the left is a near-teal silk, spun slightly thicker for knitting; I'm quite pleased with it, but perhaps could do better. The other two are for socks. I got one spun and thought that maybe I would not have enough, so bought some more fibre in a similar colourway; I think the colours go together all right, but the two wools although both labelled merino are quite different in quality and both look and feel different. I see some sampling in my future.

Spinning with the kits around is ......... challenging. Barni loves to push between the spokes of the wheel and to both of them any moving part is of interest. So too are all the little bits of leather or thread that poke out or dangle down. Did you know that kitten-spit rots silk? Well, it does appear to!

Knitting on circs at least is somewhat easier. So progress is being made on the shrug-thingy.


I like the way the yarns work together, and I do like the colours in theory, but I am not sure how it will look finally. But I shall persevere, and if nothing else, it will make a lovely cosy bed wrap for next winter.

I will cut back on the kitten stuff, but all the while they are so little and sweet to look at, I can't resist taking photos of them. A couple of the latest.....


And look how well they are beginning to get on together! Neelix put himself into this group, too.

three together

They are asleep! (I can tell by the snoring.) So I can go get on with something.