Thursday, December 31, 2009

The last post of the year

My nice peaceful, personal space between Christmas and New Year has not gone quite as planned. Poor old DSM fell prey to his least favourite thing of all, a short, sharpish attack of the d&vs. Yes, really, not overindulgence in anything. So, he has been off work, which is not such a bad thing, but he has been feeling droopy and not like doing anything much, but in need of some companionship. So I have been fulfilling the role of the loyal spouse instead of being self-indulgent.

Add to that my own spell of not sleeping too well, and creativity has definitely taken a bit of a back seat. I have been doing some stuff, though, and thinking a lot about other stuff that could be done, so hey, it isn't all gloom and doom!

As well, on Christmas Eve, my copy of Abby's spindling dvd arrived, and so we have been watching that. I'm not going to pre-empt my up-coming review in the Journal (assuming that I get it written in time, which I will....) but - impressive. Not surprising - just sayin'.

There has been completion of a spinning project.

The mohair is done. I don't have a huge amount of it, but I saw an ad for the latest Rowan magazine the other day with a picture of a very simple vest-cum-shrug that I think would work well and that I should have enough yarn for.

And straight on to the next spinning project, mainly because I like to spin in the middle of the night.

This is a pygora/fine wool mix that I bought at SOAR, at vast expense, but it was totally irresistible. It is very nice to spin, but I am rather glad that I didn't leave it to mature in the stash for too much longer, as it is already showing signs of compacting slightly. There is only just under four ounces of it, but I am hoping that will be sufficient for a small neck-shawl. I'm spinning from dark to light, half on each of two bobbins and I am going to attempt plying them together with little blurring of the colours. This is going to be challenging, as the rolags are not equally proportioned colourwise. Until I actually get in there, I'm not sure just how it is going to work out, but then that is all part of the fun, no?

To end the year, I have learned a new knitting technique! (Don't faint, nothing all that grand.) I'm knitting the border on to the "Birch" shawl, and continually turning the work around was an absolute pain for some reason, so it suddenly dawned on me that I could simply knit backwards on the plain row. One or two awkward moments to start with, and now - easy-peasy. So I have nearly finished the long top edge. Won't get it done by midnight, though.....

The mogs have gone off to prison, and the DSM and I are going to Somerset tomorrow to visit his aunt in her new care home. I'm not sure if we will be away one night or two - we had originally thought to make more of a trip of it, but the weather is so unappealing that we may do no more than the necessary, with a side trip to Get Knitted and then home for one last day of holiday, and getting the decorations down.

Apropos of which, we went to our local garden centre today to buy new tree decorations for next year in their sale! So we shall be well spiffy. Met my sister over there, and had lunch in the Bear, which was nice. She is talking ever more seriously about moving over here, which would be great.

No resolutions this year, other than to be purposefully occupied and happy. (Don't want much, do I?) I wish us all the peace of the cool greenwood and the midnight sky, the tumble of surf and the warmth of the spring sunshine. Tonight, we have a lunar eclipse of a blue moon on the turn of the year. That has to mean something good, surely......

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

As the snow melts....

I am so very glad that we went out for a walk on Christmas Day!

The woods were incredibly beautiful. But cold, so it was good to get back to the cottage!

But this was probably the best view, and my favourite photograph.

Not long after we got back from our walk, our younger visitors trudged down the lane through the snow to our door, which was lovely. Then we feasted, and then we relaxed in front of Dr Who. (I'm reserving judgement.)

We have eaten and drunken with commendable moderation, visited my mother, read a lot, knitted (and unknitted, in my case, as I spotted a major error in "Birch", now restored) and spun. This latter in the middle of the night, sadly, as I'm having One Of Those Spells.

Other than that, it is all good. The bright window in the dark of the year works its magic well.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

No need to dream.......

There has been even more snow since I took these latest photographs. It is amazingly beautiful.

I was beginning to wonder if all the trees were going to survive the weight of snow. Especially the little Christmas tree outside.

But after the morning snow showers had ended, there then began a bit of a thaw. Oh, there is still plenty of the white stuff to last a good few days yet, unless temperatures rise phenomenally. But it seems that isn't going to happen - we are forecast more snow showers, slowly increasing temperatures and then, of course, fog.

My preparations are all pretty much done - mince pies and veggie sausage rolls made, and tomorrow's festive nut roast and bread sauce taken as far as can be. There is a side of salmon to be given a pesto crust and baked in the oven for tonight. And those things will feed us for the rest of the holiday with minimal further effort.

Especially as the weather has caused our expected visitors to cancel! Some, the younger ones, may yet call in, but my sister and our friend from down the road have taken the sensible decision to stay home and pull the duvets over their respective heads. So the DSM and I will be (happily, I assure you) alone with the smoked salmon and scrambled egg and Bucks fizz for breakfast, and the aforementioned cashew nut roast for dinner. With ample supplies of advocaat, wine, port and all manner of suitable beverages, although (really, really, really) we are very moderate in our enjoyment of such things.....really.

The DSM and I will almost certainly make it over to York to see the mater on Boxing Day, unless the weather throws something very unexpected at us, but we have cancelled the now-traditional picnic lunch in her room, just in case. But from now until then, he is home, the hatches are battened down, the tree lights on and the young cats are going demented, having discovered a mighty enthusiasm for the glittery foil rosettes and ribbons trimming our Few, at our advanced age!) parcels. Which should be under the tree, but are actually under one of the shawls that I keep in the sitting room, as an anti-Snowshoe device.

There! What did I say? Two young things just thundered into the room, and pounced, but were foiled (oops - didn't mean that pun!!)

So, my dears, compliments of the season to you.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's been a far from quiet week in the valley.......

Tuesday was the Extended Coven Christmas get-together (Monday was preparing for it!). Which was lovely. Super people, super little pressies, super food. Makes one wish it could be Christmas every day.....

Tuesday evening (bad timing!) was Valley Fibres. Not so very many turned up, but it was nice all the same. Too close to Christmas, and I seem to recall it was raining and not at all an appealing evening to go out.

Friday was AH, and a room full of spinners, including one wannabe, who struggled personfully and did pretty well. She seemed a natural at first, but I think lost confidence - I moved her on to the wheel too soon, and she had actually been pretty happy on a spindle. But I sent her off with fibre having told her how to make a cd spindle, and I think she will keep trying. She spun some very creditable yarn, that's for sure.

But Friday morning, I awoke to this:



I had to brush a couple of inches of powdery stuff from my car, but the trusty Jimny in 4x4 mode got me out to the main road - and then along the lane to the college at the other end, which was lethal!

There were some further flurries on Friday night, and yesterday. We were at Guild for the Christmas meeting, which always includes a Secret Santa gift exchange, and golly, did I get lucky! Four beautiful heavy cotton table napkins, indigo resist dyed, from India (which means I knew who had put them in!) that are exactly what I would have chosen for myself if buying them. I was so chuffed. Anyway, a quiet and not heavily attended meeting, no doubt because of the proximity of it to Christmas Day, and the decidedly inclement weather. I nearly froze to death in the meeting room, and was definitely not sorry to leave early. Also meant we could knock off a few errands, including buying our joint Christmas present to one another.

Yes, folks, the time has finally come - neither of us can deny any longer that we cannot read subtitles on a tiny television screen. So we now have a flat screen 26" beast that seems huge to us, but I gather other people are now getting 40" monsters, so we are still being fairly restrained. Er - I like it. Actually. Must be getting old......

And today, a few chores - and watching the snow fall. Showers, rather than continuous, but we must have had another couple of centimetres, and if it keeps up, we could be faced with a few logistical problems later in the week. Unless the weather reverts to normal mode - but they keep telling us it is going to remain cold, so the snow will stay in the lane at least. Still, hey, I like snow! We will manage whatever is thrown our way.

I made a little purchase on Friday - a gorgeous Ryland sheepskin, which may seem illogical with me a non-meat-eater, but given that I wear leather shoes, and also know the (organic) producer - well, tough. But it wasn't really for me.

And if I can persuade them not to destroy it in a week, because quite a lot of wrestling has been going on already, I think the Snowshoes will enjoy it.....

Barni on the new rug

One of them appears to be doing so already.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas shopping

Amazing what you can accomplish when you try!

Admittedly, we don't do gifts for as many people as we used to, but there's a few. Our habit was, once upon a time, to have a day out in Manchester or York, buy a lot of stuff for ourselves, and get through maybe half of the rest. Then we began sometimes going to Ilkley, because there is a Smiths there, a lovely sweetie shop, and, of course, Bettys.

So, yesterday, we did a swift gallop around HB, very successfully. Including a haircut for the DSM (so he now looks like a scalped schoolboy, he believes in a haircut lasting....) some wood varnish to spruce up the bathroom, and some beetroot to make soup. Then set off for Ilkley, aiming for a late lunch at the aforementioned. Well, it was late. But good. Especially the festive mulled wine. We bought a few goodies in the shop, then I shot off looking for more conventional boots in black, than I normally wear, in red, blue or purple. I was successful, and highly amused by the lovely woman in the independent (yay!!) shoe shop who took them off to use the "Victorian Bunion Stretcher" on them. We had a heartfelt conversation about the hereditary nature of the dratted things, too. Meanwhile, himself was hunting down photograph storage albums and parcel decorating materials in Smiths (I let him do that on his own!!)

We knocked off a couple more essentials, then went around the corner to the sweetie find that it had vanished. Now I have to find another source of our favourite Alban* Berg chocs, dammit. We don't ever eat many sweets, but at Christmas, we do like a box of those.

Drove back in the twilight, but without the spectacular sunsets of last year, sadly. Still, at least it wasn't raining - again! Wow.

Today was a pleasant Bear Knitters, where I finally got to reacquaint myself with "Birch", a less horrendous experience than I had feared. I am about to start the second ball of yarn - coming up, a judgement call on when to stop the body and go on to the edging. I've done such a thing so rarely that I have practically no experience to base this on. I am sure that edgings take more yarn rather than less, and I would rather stop too soon than too late and have to frog lots. And if there is yarn left over, I could always make finglerless mitts. Can't have too many of those, eh?

One of my spectacularly lousy photographs - of the new spinning on the wheel, the rather nice mohair. Enjoyable to spin, too.


And a rather better photo of the yak and silk. The colour is slightly more pastel in reality, but this is close.

Finished yak and silk

Someone at lunchtime was knitting a very pretty scarf - I'm off to Ravelry to see if she has posted which pattern it is there, it would work a treat with this.

*Anton Berg, Anton. Fool. Chocolates, not music!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A day without rain

That's it, really.......

No, of course it isn't! Just worth remarking upon, that's all, and the fact that it inspired me to clean and iron and stuff a veggie casserole on. Well, the good old faithful onion, potato and tofu hotpot, which started out as bacon, but smoked tofu works brilliantly.

Notice the lack of fibre content (apart from the potato) in the above. The other necessary activities do get in the way. Ah, well, the house might have been condemned by some authority or other if I hadn't started in on it. The truth of the matter is that the upcoming visit from the Extended Coven is concentrating my mind wonderfully.

I have a little more time to play with, although I am not best chuffed about it. I had been hoping that the first day of strike action EVAH was going to occur for the DSM tomorrow, and we were going to bugger off to Ilkley for a little necessary Xmas shopping, such as wot cannot be done in HB and around. Not to mention lunch at Bettys as a reward for all our labours. But the terminally inept management at the jolly old place of work have decided to return to the negotiating table (and did, I wonder, lemon curry figure??*) H'mm. I'm not convinced it ain't A Ploy, but himself seems to think not. This from a global enterprise that thinks it reasonable to halt pay increases for the staff and gives the Big Chief $14 million as a bonus? We shall see - but our nice little day out is now off the table, and I had been looking forward to it!

My yarn crawl did not quite go as expected, but was fun none the less. Moral Fibre is a nice spot, and definitely worth a visit, although not massively stocked with goodies. Friendly welcome, and the prospect of a knotting group dangled in front of us, which can't be bad. I fell for some strung beads, to knit alongside some handspun, I think, and a skein of something or other pretty, also beaded, with a pattern to make a neck thingy. And no, I can't be more precise than that. Also, a set of 2.5mm Sox Stix. I have always avoided these before as too frightfully expensive, but apparently they do come with a genuine lifetime guarantee, and as the shop is only just down the road.......

The other shop on the itinerary turned out not to be open on Mondays (I hadn't thought of this as a possibility, and as they don't have a website (amazing, in this day and age!!) I didn't think to check by phone. Still, we pressed our noses up against the window, and it looks pretty ace, so we will return. Dashed back to HB and had a nice soup and sandwich lunch in town, and then a cuppa at home with some knitting. Good way to spend a day, eh??

In some small consolation for that, I just went and had a good look around the Wollmeise website. I really, really want to try this fabled stuff. But it is going to be a challenge. Apparently the trick is to hit the site just a few minutes after it has been updated, but as I am not telepathic, I'm not sure how to do that! The other suggestion, by one of the Bear Knitters, has been to have a trip to Munich. I could be up for that :D

OK, once the lid is off the hotpot for browning purposes, I am done with domestic duties and can go spin - I have finished the yak and silk and started some very, very nice dyed mohair that I bought at Rhinebeck last year. I'm not going to know exactly what I am going to do with it until it is finished and samples, I haven't used handspun mohair all that often. Shawl or throw, I would guess.

Pictures at some point....

*Anyone getting the reference??

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Playing away

I've been a bit silent the past week. I've been OK, but very much not liking the weather, and keeping my head down. There has been spinning and knitting - the pretty yak and silk has all been spun, and should be plied this evening; and I am up to the heel on the first Socks That Rock sock in a pattern shamelessly cribbed from my SIL who saw it on someone else's Rav page anyway! Violet Green "Waving Not Drowning" which seemed such a totally appropriate pattern for me that I couldn't resist. Very pretty, too. And the yarn is - oh! To die for. Now I understand why folk rave about it so much. Thank goodness I have another couple of skeins.....

But Friday afternoon, I ran away to play. Recognise anywhere?

Same room, different people.....

My usual teaching room at AH, but I'm a learner again.

More PMC

Fuzzy and unfired

Terrible photograph. I need to take some more, but I forgot before I did the upload and don't have time now. This is fuzzy, and unfired. Although, I did actually only complete four pieces. I had gone expecting to spend the time learning how to do filigree - which I did. But learning by getting it all wrong. Not entirely my fault, and neither was the fact that I had to spend a lot of time amusing myself, but I did get quite a bit out of the class despite the glitches, and kept myself amused in other ways. I'm booked on another one early next year, and will go well-prepared this time, and not make the same mistakes. I've also got the wherewithal to do some here, assuming that I can find the firing block.....I know it is here somewhere.

Anyway, it was quite a nice day yesterday, so I went to a profitable wander with my camera. Just nice shots of attractive things, but they may make for inspiration one of these days.


I loved the delicacy of the ornamental tree and its orange "fruit" against the rose coloured brick in the walled garden.


And I was struck by the Victorian novel-ish appearance of the pergola as I walked past the end of it. The word "pleached" always comes in to my mind when I see this sort of thing, general accompanied by "limes". I have no idea what it means, but it sounds so romantic.

Fungus and leaves

Beautiful richly coloured shiny leaves and a delicate, unfamiliar fungus.

Seed head 2

Lace doilies!

Seed head 1

The name of this plant has gone completely out of my head....begins with "A"....but I loved the colour, again.

Right alongside the walled garden is a more or less derelict greenhouse, which is both a very sad sight and totally intriguing. I have been observing the gentle, slow decay of the door for a while now, and was very struck by the present state. Then I started playing around with Photoshop. Must do more when I have a spare hour or three.

Doorway 1

Doorway 2

OK, off to throw together a quick pasta bake for supper, have a cuppa, and then hit the spinning wheel. Tomorrow, I'm having a yarn crawl with a friend. Yes, I know, I know. I shall do my very, very best not to be tempted by anything. It was obviously a huge mistake to ever allow myself to by commercial yarn At All, because once I started, I can't stop.

I do hope Alice wants to inherit my stash.......

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Who'd a thunk?

When I was a gel, still at school and coming up to A-levels, my mother told me over and over* that I should be a teacher "It is such a good job for a woman, dear."

Now, that was quite sufficient to deter me even in those far off days, but in fact I knew very well that I was most definitely not suited to school teaching. I would be dreadful at it, would hate it and would therefore do irreparable damage to the poor unfortunate children who crossed my path, and indeed, to myself.

I'm still sure that I was right. But to my considerable amazement, a few years ago I found that I could in fact teach spinning. I enjoyed it, and did it pretty well. Totally different to school teaching, of course. It isn't a relentless day in day out conveyor belt of reluctant young people, but (nowadays) adults who have chosen to be in any particular class. Quite a different thing. I have worked with children, and even that does have its charms, when they are on a day out, doing something other than times tables, or whichever aspect of the curriculum is due at 10.45 am on the first Tuesday in June. So to speak.

Actually, slightly an aside, I did once teach a series of classes to one year group in a Junior school, on feltmaking, and that worked well for us all too - but again, it was not the norm for them, and very much more like playing than drudgery. But we did have fun. we are at the end of November, and just yesterday we taught our last workshop of 2009, the last of a very, very busy year. (You have to remember that the DSM still has a day job, and although he enjoys the workshops and does find them in many ways energising, they are hard work. He's due for a rest!)

It was a lovely day. Twelve newcomers to spindle spinning - well, two of them had done a bit before, but not a lot. So, all starting with the basics, but in the course of the day, they spun and plyed (Andean and with a nostepinne) and then had a play with a different sort of wool top, and had a look at other spindles and fibres. One exceptionally satisfying thing was that one person had struggled a lot in the morning, so much so that I had seriously feared that she was going to leave. By the end, she had not only mastered it, but had spun some highly creditable silk on one of my little spindles, and by what she was telling me, I am absolutely convinced that she was in fact an intuitive spinner who was going to go far.

When that happens, it is....fantastic.

A few photographs.

BRE workshop2

BRE workshop1

BRE workshop3

There is a little icing on the cake. My copy of the Journal came on Friday, wherein were the student reports from Summer School. The one for our class was really nice, and enabled us to feel that we are doing something right. Seemingly, our intentions when we devise and teach a class do transfer to those who take them, and it is such a pleasure to get that feedback.

Next year is so far scheduled to be much, much quieter. At the moment, we only have one workshop booked, although it would not be a surprise to have others materialise. Who knows? On sad thing, the format of the Woolfest teaching programme is changing, so there will not be beginners sessions there next year. Whilst it will make it less hectic for us, I enjoyed doing the classes, and do feel they fulfilled a need. Not to worry, though. Something else will develop - may already be so doing!

It's all good!

* That is neither the only thing my mother told me over and over, nor the only such I ignored.....

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Come again another day.....

I'm happily feeling a great deal better - I wake up at a sensible hour feeling I have had a good night's sleep, and I don't now crash out at 9pm. I do tend to slump in the afternoons still, but that is just normality writ rather larger than normal, and is improving, so I can live with that. Nothing however, is being helped by the weather....but I have twined on about that so much, it is very old and very boring so I won't this time!

I'm having a good week. I finally met with the person about the textile history project - I can't say too much about it, because it is all still rather vague and as yet undefined if there is any role for me, although it looks as if there might be. Spindle spinning workshops, even. And just maybe something involving dyeing. Nothing will happen in a hurry, which is probably just as well. Very interesting, though.

Then yesterday was another book group, and very good gathering, too. Although it is slightly scary how many of us were/had been incapacitated, particularly those with broken and repaired hips and other bones!. But one very amusing moment when someone made a remark about their "promiscuous" youth, and half the room admitted likewise, whilst the other half looked shamefaced and admitted to hooking up with the first, the one, the only! Too funny (and no, I'm not saying.....)

Today is darker than ever, and I can admit to finding it really hard to motivate myself to doing anything. Still, I am fiddling with altering a new skirt, and rounding up spinning projects.

The Whitefaced Woodland on the wheel is done (I have more, but some is being spindle spun, and the rest can wait.)

 White faced woodland + new Forrester spindle

Part of the mountain waiting to be dyed, with the full spindle on top.

White faced woodland - spindle and wheel spun

And this is the spindle spun yarn lying on top of some wheel spun. I am very pleased with this - I managed to get pretty close to the same finished yarn from the wheel with the spindle spun. Slightly firmer twist, although I did try to moderate it! It doesn't matter - the spindle spun will be for different projects, it was just an exercise.

I am still deeply pondering just what sort of an afghan or blanket or throw or whatever I am going to make. I have been reading the latest edition of Selvedge (always a joy) and there is a photograph of, believe it or not, the most sumptuous blanket in crocheted granny squares. I am so tempted - to use something so derided and banal and to turn it in to a statement. H'mmm....too pretentious, maybe. I am also thinking along the lines of a panelled affair, or maybe even a spiral seen recently on Ravelry.

I really don't know. Watch this space in a few years time.

Meanwhile, still the same knitting projects on the go, but I have started the glorious yak and silk blend from A Verb For Keeping Warm bought at the SOAR market. Lovely, lovely stuff, only slightly tricky to spin because of the different characteristics of the two fibres. But extremely well blended, so not too bad. I have elected to go for smooth, even and fine, with an only marginally tedious very short forward draw, instead of a less regular thicker and puffier look with an extended draw. Because I see a lace scarf in its future. I can also see that the store is going to be a very dangerous place - good job it is so far away! ( they do mail order???.....)

Should manage Coven tomorrow - and Saturday, we have a spindle spinning workshop in Leeds. Of which more anon, I have no doubt.

Pretty much business as usual, now.......

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I'm back!


I might have got an eye open, but keeping it so was another matter entirely. I've been napping frequently, and turning in to a pumpkin by nine o'clock and going to sleep - no reading in bed, two minutes of ipod, crash.

I did manage to crawl out to a book group meeting on Tuesday because I felt I really had to make the effort, plus I desperately needed to talk to another human being. I chickened out of Coven on Thursday, couldn't face the thought of driving back in the rain and dark in a state of zombiedom.

But then finally comes Saturday, Guild and supper with DS/BIL after, and I survived! I was totally knackered by the time we got home, despite dozing all the way back from Leeds. But had a really nice day, it was so good to see friends and family again after two weeks plus of virtual incarceration. Today, I am feeling a little dopey (not one word....) but human. What a relief - it looks like the worst is over. (Just as well, we are teaching next Saturday.)

I have been mainly knitting, nothing too taxing. I even put "Birch" to one side in favour of a very plain vanilla project that I have been eyeing up for ages. A shrug cum vest, in K1P1 rib and a rather nice mock rib (K1P1 one row, with P1Sl1 on the return - very attractive, firm fabric.)

I have been attempting to finish off the whitefaced woodland, to free up the wheel for some of the SOAR market goodies, and then decided that I would use some of it for spindle spun samples - so at Guild yesterday I filled a new Forrester spindle, which was pretty satisfying. I haven't taken any photos of any of this, and will get around to it soon, but I really did think that it was high time I blogged again.

The other thing that has been exercising my mind is Cockermouth. This is just one of many websites - if you visit this one, scroll down to the photograph of the Market Place. Centre frame is a shop called "Banks", and just to the right of it, as you look at the image, is the shop that used to be the Sewing Shop that I ran with a friend. And as for Banks - an ironmongers, been there for many decades, and inside a rabbit warren of retail history that is going to be a major loss.

What is good to hear is all the Woolfest people being so supportive - we too will be back, although possibly not in the same place as I know it has been flooded out. But it is all we can do.

And so - it looks like I am nearly back to normal (which will mean housework and ironing, sadly - the place looks like a slum. The DSM has been fantastic whilst I have been hors de combat, shopping and cooking, keeping himself in shorts - but there is A Backlog. Time indeed to rejoin the human race.

And I'm getting my fibre mojo back somewhat, too, and some of the stuff that could be done at the computer is done, or in hand. I need to go stash diving for the Yorkshire fleece/rovings, which have unaccountably moved from where I put them safely before we went on holiday, and then I can combine the work on those with work that needs to be done on spindling.

And that sounds like fun to me, so I must be recovering!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

One eye slowly opens.........

So, there I was on the sofa on Saturday moaning to the DSM that I would feel that I had flu if I were running a temperature, and he was replying that well, that was a good thing and at least it couldn't be swine flu....

Which indeed it may not have been. Only - loads of people who were at SOAR have been reporting in that they have actually tested positive for H1N1. And giving their symptoms. Which match mine, precisely.


We shall never know. What I do know is that I have been feeling like death, and am only just really coming round. Temp or no, H1N1 or no, I shall surely be glad when this finally passes. Gilt well off holiday gingerbread, and game less worth the candle than heretofore.


Before I lose all enthusiasm, final round up.

gownless evening strap

My friend Jeannine modelling her gownless evening strap at the SOAR fashion Show. The girl has talent. For something.


I hadn't thought that this would come out at all. I have tweaked it a little with Photoshop to get it slightly closer to what I remember seeing. Glorious.


I fell in love with aspens, and particularly loved the trunks like these. There has to be inspiration for something in there somewhere.

Then there were other trees....

O tannenbaum?

Now, that is a Christmas tree!

Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Couple of shots from up at Crater Lake after leaving Bend. Like, wow.

Pleasant drive back to SF, and a final couple of lovely days with friends. The warmth of the weather and of the welcome both will stay with me all winter long.

I spent the long flight back quietly planning in my head all the nice things I was going to do over the next few weeks - I always come back with projects simmering even if most of them don't ever really fly. This time, though, my project is to simply recover. I am slowly improving, and have finally, finally, trawled through the loot. Now to work up some enthusiasm for doing something with it.

I have come back to mixed fortunes, anyway, some good news, some less so. many things to get my head around. First up, once my head clears a bit more, an article to write, and a proposal to get in; and I have a meeting on Monday to talk about something local that might prove to be both enjoyable and interesting.

There, if I can contemplate such, then all is not lost!

One final photograph. We drove up to Grizzly Peak on our last afternoon, and I took this directly in to the sun. Again, I've tweaked it in Photoshop, the graininess is deliberate. To me, views over the Bay are magical, and I love this. It is real - it is what I can see in my head.

From Grizzly Peak

And here, at home? It is dark and it is raining and I need another cup of tea.

Saturday, November 07, 2009


I'm back.

I'm sick.

I'm very fed up.

Whether I did the same as last year, and had first one bug and then another, or if it is one long mutating thing exacerbated by the long flight, I know not, neither do I really care. I just know I am sick.

So sick that I haven't even unpacked and gloated over my loot. So that tells you.

Updates as and when.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Somehow, it's got to Thursday

Which seems slightly faster and odder than usual, because the DSBloodyM passed his cold on to me. So I bailed out of the last day of my workshop, and spent the time either sleeping or whining. Worth it, though, as I feel much better today and have managed a first foray to the market. The other two have gone off in a jolly party to the High Desert Museum, which I would have liked to have seen, but I deemed it wiser to stay here and recover a little bit more, as well as doing their laundry.

We are staying in a mini-palace. Supposedly a condo, a holiday home, it is larger than our regular abode, and very well appointed.

We even have a garlic press.

And a washer and dryer, which is so much cooler than hunting down the resort facilities and feeding them with endless dimes.

I digress. Just to prove I actually did spend some valuable time in Judith's class on Spinning for socks....

JMM demonstrating

I took some more photos, but was already feeli8ng pretty seedy, so nothing all that noteworthy except for

Bohus sweater

A glorious 1950s Bohus sweater someone brought in to show us. And

Noro vest

Diane, a long time SOAR friend graciously posing so I could photograph her lovely Noro vest.

Oh, and by the by, just look what we woke up to on Tuesday morning!


It didn't last all that long, and was actually colder yesterday. But today has warmed up again and is a rather nice autumn day, gently sunny, slightly crisp and very pleasant all round.

Except in the market, which was crammed with people and a lot of very hot lights, and so rather overwhelming. I have been, so far, fairly restrained. Only one spindle (this may well change....) a very pretty purple striped Graftonfibres medium weight, some books and a dvd, and less usual fibres - yak and silk, pygora, dyes suri alpaca.

However - there are two more days of marketing to go. I somehow doubt that this will be it.

Meanwhile, I continue to chug the Emergen-C and other necessary stuff to appease the cold, and am glad to be back in the ongoing tide of catching up with good friends and talking about fibre, fibre tools and so on without being looked at pityingly by the rest of the world.

I'm quite tempted to get my borrowed Lendrum out and spin, but if I do I will have to finish whatever by Sunday morning, so on balance, knitting is better. My befuddled condition led to a few mistakes in "Birch", but I think I recovered them. Oh, and perhaps not too surprisingly, this place is full of loads of lovely lacy shawls! I have to say, I was glad of my purple one last night, it was chilly!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Knitting on the dock of the bay

As I type this, the wind is howling and the rain lashing down on to the window. Ordinarily, I would be plunged into despair at such weather, at home. But somehow, here, the proximity of the ocean makes it dramatic and interesting. And there is always knitting to be done.

Knitting on the dock of the bay

I cooked us pancakes, served with a lovely raspberry sauce made locally for breakfast this morning. That makes the world seem a good place, too!

Yesterday wasn't so bad, and we had a good tootle out, doing a loop drive back from the coast along the Siletz (?) River, and back down to Newport. We went down to the "historic" district, which was actually great, a working port as well as excellent tourist shops. Plus a very good coffee and pastry stop.

And then, as I promised, more sealions. Lots and lots of sealions!

Sealions at Newport

Please excuse any fuzziness, I used the digital zoom for this. Here they are against the backdrop of the Newport bridge.

But when you get down to the harbour, it is all set up for them as a tourist thing - floating platforms and so on. At least, I assume that is what it is.


Strange creatures. And extremely noisy!

So, today, we shall have to wait and see. Any plans for boat trips of whatever sort are right off the table, the weather is pretty grim. If it clears a bit, we will go out and potter a bit more - at the very least, we need a veggie or two for supper (fresh coho salmon.)

Meanwhile, we are not short of occupation.

Birch in progress

Birch is making good progress. Really nice pattern - even I can learn it. I'm enjoying it!

Tomorrow, on to Bend. Dunno when I will be back.......

Now, where were we?


Don't ask me where we saw these elk, I can't remember....just that they were posing very prettily by the roadside all waiting to be photographed.

Next stop, Bandon. The DSM had fond memories of a magnificent breakfast had here fourteen years ago. We didn't find the cafe in question, but very much enjoyed the town. We hadn't booked a motel ahead, and serendipitously found an absolute humdinger, really comfortable and right on the shore. So there is some justice in the world.

This was at Coquille Point, and we spent a long time the next morning walking on the beach, which was extensive and lovely. As in....

Elephant rock

Known as Elephant Rock. Yup, I can see that.

CA1 116

Face Rock. That, too. (Lots more - they will all go up on Flickr eventually, but not yet. Watch this space, or one very similar.)


And driftwood like no other I have ever seen. Quite wonderful. In fact, a beautiful place all round.

Then on the road north, we stopped at an overlook. I could hear this weird sound, which got louder as I walked in a certain direction. Looked over the cliff and saw....

Sea lions

A beach full of shouting sea lions. Seals I am accustomed to. Sea lions, - not so much! There will be more on these strange animals later.

And now we are safely ensconced in our condo in Depoe Bay. Which is everything that it said on the tin and more, and more. OK, right by the 101, but difficult not to be. But also right on the cliff edge, overlooking a little cove, and with a vista to die for over the bay. We have been pottering gently - any hopes of a whale watching expotition are fading, the weather is on the wild side, but we might take a boat out on a nearby river instead. Meanwhile, we have been exploring the little towns in the neighbourhood - faded seaside resorts out of season, just what we all love, especially as tow of us were brought up in same. Some might consider this an odd sort of holiday, but it suits us down to the ground.

One more day here, and then over to Bend for the madness that is SOAR. It seems strange, not sure why. The poor old DSM has a honking cold, which I am hoping madly will not cross the divide to me, having been through all of that last year. We shall see, and we shall survive. So much to look forward to.

For now, it is my turn to cook supper (having rented a condo with an excellent kitchen, we feel it incumbent upon us to cook in it, and the local restaurants don't particularly appeal, although the Chinese take out on our first night was quite good. I'm doing faux Mexican - black bean enchiladas. We have the wherewithal for margaritas and we have beer.

O, yum.