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.