Friday, January 30, 2009

A quick post before bedtime

I'm just back from a pleasant evening at Coven, from whence I returned with half a fleece. Oops. Actually, not oops, it has a shortish staple and I am intending using it for teaching purposes.....

I have just found white powder all over the computer keyboard - what has the DSM been up to whilst I have been out!

Anyway, not too much to say, but I didn't want to set off for Cornwall tomorrow without posting and thus leaving an even longer gap.

I have no photos of anything again - I got the camera checked out and it seems to be fine, but won't work with the software on the pc. It does with the laptop, thank goodness, so if I can't work out how to fix the problem then I can use that. but I might finally buy Photoshop Elements, as I have been threatening to do for ages, and see if entirely new software does the trick.

Not that I have done all that much to photograph. I have dyed the purple yarn for the shawl edging, so I can take that as a holiday project. And I have swatched and cast on for a silk Spiraluscious. For that, I am attempting to do a Magic Loop, but, basically, failing. I can't work out what I am doing wrong, although it may be the position of my right hand impeding the free movement of the stitches. Another holiday project!

I am also taking the current socks, some beading, my Majacraft Little Gem and a couple of spindles. Plus a stack of books. Well, they are forecasting snow, so we may not be out all that much. Now, if only I had mobile broadband! H'mm........

I need to get to bed, really, but my head keeps trying to plan what I need to pack. thick socks and warm boots, I should think. I wish I could find the lovely thick mittens that I knitted myself for the Norway trip. And I need to lay hands on a hat, as well. I should have been rounding all this stuff up during the week, but I seem to have been gadding a bit.

Ah, well, it will be lovely whatever. And I actually rather fancy some photographs of sea and snow, so I hope the forecast is right.

See you later!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A new name for Barni

I'll come to that in a minute.

First, a warning - no photographs! My little Samsung is having a hissy fit. Every time I try to upload images, the pc goes frantically dingdongdingdong and screens flash at me and mayhem breaks out. I'll take it in to the camera shop on Tuesday, and hope that it can be fixed before we go to Cornwall on Friday.

Up until yesterday I had thought that the problem was with the memory card, but we had friends to lunch to discuss a project we are working on and I had to take a photo. Which I did using both cards, and neither worked. Bug er it.

The project is to try to start a spinning group in the Upper Valley - there seem to be more and more spinners coming out of the, that doesn't sound very friendly, I'll have to think of a better way of expressing it! Anyway, there are apparently more of us, and there may well be others, so we are going to try to find out. So, a very nice lunch and chat and a modicum of work, and a great chunk of Saturday was gone.

Lunch was my favourite roasted pepper and sweet potato soup, which I realised came originally from "Vegetarian Express" by Rose Elliott. This as I was browsing through it as my cookery book of the week. I ended up making a lovely spinach, potato and chick pea spiced dish, served with yogurt and naan bread. Not exactly curry, but close. Pretty healthy, and great comfort food.

By some misjudgement, although I suppose that it doesn't matter really, I did the two "challenge" days back to back. The other was from a BBC Good Food book of veggie food, and was a cheat really, although none the less tasty for that. Cous cous mixed with a jar of pepper antipasto, with halloumi and mushrooms. Very quick, even with the added stir-fried pak choi, and again, tasty.

Back to macaroni cheese tonight!

Today, we had a Rav + others knitting meet-up at The Bear, in Tod. I was having a good time, but had to leave sooner than I wouod have chosen as I had to go and see a friend over in Colne. Not that that was a problem, of course, just a time-conflict! I needed to drop something off with her, but I also wanted to see the latest hatching of snowshoe kittens (aren't you glad my camera is broken....?) Teeny weeny and impossibly cute. But I don't have kitten-envy this time - my own two, although great big grown up cats now, still fill that role.

And so to Barni - who, whilst being cuddled in the bathroom last night, as one does, reached his paws out one, two and tapped the DSM on each cheek. And then lifted up his head, and grabbed hold of a chunk of beard and tugged.

So - Barni Beardbiter. Very Scandiwegian!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The first day of the rest of our lives?

All things must pass. Thatcher did, and so now has Bush. With the former, things did not actually get better, but I think there is maybe a glimmer of hope that with Obama they will. Time will tell.

Stuff going on around here, but not much of it good blog-fodder. I spin, I knit, I teach. The purple now Truly Tasha shawl - I stopped growing it after two balls, and started the edging, but I don't think there is going to be enough. So I frogged the bit I had done, will make the shawl larger with that, and spin and dye some yarn of a different fibre to do the edging. The only decision left to make is whether to go for straight purple, or to paint the skein with a couple of colours in case the match isn't perfect. (Because I didn't make any record of how much dye I used to how much fibre, yes ok, I know - bad.)

I have some pretty sea green yarn.

ruby with yarn

I hope the yarn hows up ok. My Samsung seems to be misbehaving, and this was the best picture. That Ruby is in it too is coincidental. Really. Quite nice yarn, anyway, which might go with the much paler green from the abbybatt. All this maybe doable lace shawl patterns that I have are crying out to be attempted.

I went over to the Piece Hall yesterday for a meeting about the Temporary Art Space gallery. I was the oldest one there by many and many a year. Oops. And now I see that I have been elevated to "staff"! Not yet sure what that means, but it could be fun. I will put up links &etc when I have a little more time.

And soon I will try to produce a more satisfactory blog post with some substance to it, and lots of photos, assuming the camera is ok. Well, even not, I could use the Finepix if necessary.

Now to spin to the second half of "Brothers and Sisters".

Edited to add:

The photo does not in fact show the yarn all that well. I found another.

sea green yarn

Sunday, January 18, 2009

An apple for the teacher

I've still been a bit semi-detached, I'm afraid. But hey, I'm clawing my way back up the rigging. (Sorry, we are part way through watching the DVD of Pirates of the Caribbean 111. Overlong, and definitely not the best of the franchise, but what the heck, it's Johnny Depp.)

Anyway - Friday and Saturday have both helped in the restoration project. Friday was a most excellent day at AH, that I think - hope - everyone enjoyed. Got some useful work done and had a good time with it, can't be bad.

Here are two of the regular participants showing off the fabulous garments they have created from some of the Polworth rovings.



It is always so nice to see what people create.

But also - the first sighting, just about, of snowdrops, which are always good at AH. shall we say, a few green shoots of recovery....

first snowdrops

Before I leave the Friday class, I should explain the subject line for this blog post. As I was leaving, I had a carrier thrust at me, with something heavy in it. To be honest, I was a bit distracted, and thought because of an earlier conversation I had heard that it was a large jar of marmalade, which would have been extremely welcome. Although I was a bit puzzled by the comment made by the donor that she had seen the enclosed and thought of me.

When I opened the bag at home, to my utter astonishment, I found a....bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin, my absolute favourite. Now, that is without a doubt better than marmalade, and much better than any old apple! I consider myself a very fortunate teacher indeed. I am just ever so slightly concerned that the sight of a bottle of gin should make the donor think of me, but I choose to brush that concern aside ........

Thank you, B - you know who you are, and I hope you know how touched I am by your well-chosen gift!

So, to Saturday and the Guild AGM. Well, that went as AGMs go, mostly ok, some irritations. We now have an incoming new regime - a bit like the US of A, really :) - and again like, we can have a faint hope of things improving! But the Faith lunch was as ever, most enjoyable, and the afternoon most pleasant, sitting and knitting and chatting to people to more or less purpose. The last couple of Guild meetings have been like that, with a pleasant mix of old and new members acquainting and reacquainting, and useful work being done. I'm looking forward to the next guild year, with some good workshops planned. Although the first one the DSM and I am doing, which is nerve-wracking rather than relaxing! Plus I need to make haste to order the materials we need.

And as for what fibre work I have been doing, well, not so much, but enough. The Truly Tasha pattern suits the purple yarn far better than the previous efforts, and I am making good progress. I have cast on a sock in Colinette Jitterbug, using the picot top, which has come out curate's eggish - I haven't quite lined the hem up right so there is a very little distortion, but so little I am going to leave it until I am quite sure that I have made the cuff wide enough. If I have, it stays wonky!

Done some spinning, too, but more about that maybe later, when I have photos. For now, I think I am actually off to play with a bead or three.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Alternatively - I'm alive!

Despite the best efforts of a nasty little cold bug that has been attemptiong to do my head in, literally (maybe?) I actually thought it might be on it's way at the time of my last post, but wasn't sure until later on that evening. But, hey, it has nearly gone now, so I don't need to whine about it.

There is an upside to being forced to sit on the sofa watching stored up CSI episodes. Unless really badly affected, which I wasn't, you can knit. Or rip. Guess what, the purple cormo did indeed get ripped again, drat and drabbit. I am going to try the Truly Tasha shawl next, stop being over inventive, and get the damn thing done. I came across the unwashed yarn and sample today, and it was indeed a different beast from what I have now. Presumably I was too hearty in my dyeing efforts, even though I thought I was being careful. Next time......

But I started, ripped back a bit (because even if a pattern literally says easy-peasy, that is not a given if you put me in conjunction with holes)and finished this:

camel & silk spiral cowl

This is the Spiral Cowl by Keri McKiernan available as a Ravelry download. Very, very nice. I used the camel and silk, two colourways, that I got from Freyalynn. Which was lovely to knit, and has made a beautiful warm, comfortable cowl.

Next up - Spiraluscious, probably in silk, I'm sampling at the moment and need to find the details.

And - I must be feeling better, I've done the next week's different recipe for supper tonight! How's that for keen? this one comes from an American writer on vegetarian cookery, Jeanne Lemlin. I have several of her books and like them very much, but haven't used this one - Classic V C - as being as it says on the tin, I already make things rather similar to a lot of the recipes. This one is something of a change, though, being a polenta dish, layered with a vegetable mixture and fontina (although I had to use gruyere) cheese. There should also be cream involved, but even I, rebel that I am, felt that all the cheese plus cream was a bit much, so I left it out. It looked and smelled scrummy, so I am looking forward to that, and a nice healthy glass of tempranillo, which is becoming one of my favourite wines.

I could blather on, but it will soon be Archers time....(sad, sad, sad!)


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Twelfth Night

But we more or less reverted to normal yesterday. The decorations were all packed away (those that survived.....) on Sunday, and the DSM was back to work.

But - it snowed! It has been absolutely fabulous, a very light covering of snow but iron-hard frosts, lasting through the day here on the edge of the Pennines. Today was perfect, clear blue skies and icy, icy cold. Proper winter for the first time in many a year.

Mind you, the other delightful thing is that we can already see the difference in the time that it gets dark. Each year, when the Solstice comes, we can think that it will not be long, and every year, unsurprisingly, as our little world goes back to normal, we see it. And it lifts the heart.

I celebrated Twelfth Night by joining the Tuesday morning Book Group for one last throw of the festive dice, a splendid lunch out in town. I had a griddled goat's cheese roulade with rocket and a green tapenade; followed by a lovely dish of buttery tagliatelle on which sat a perfectly cooked chunk of smoked haddock, the whole garnished with capers. The three flavours complimented each other a treat.

Whilst on the subject of food, I have done the first week of "use a different cookery book...." I selected the Good Housekeeping Complete Book of Vegetarian Cookery, published in 1992, and had a good browse. The recipe I chose was one for lightly curried tofuburgers. And before anyone groans, they were great. I think the DSM was slightly dubious when he heard my proposal, but he has agreed that they must be done again. They are pretty good nutritionally - a block of tofu, a small quantity of nuts, carrot, onion and another small quantity of wholewheat breadcrumbs. Various seasonings. I baked them in the oven rather than frying them, too. Definitely yum.

And I have been following woolly pursuits. With greater or lesser success..... The purple cormo wrap was ripped and started a new incarnation as a shawl. But looking at it this evening, I don't like what I see, and will rip again.

More successfully, I have begun the spinning for crochet experiments. I started with a wild card - I had spun some merino and tencel in a very pretty colourway, and I realised looking at it that if I plied it, it would not go very far. So even though Z-spun, I am crocheting with it as a singles, a functional (I hope) bag.

merino-tencel crochet

But I am also now spinning some bog standard Falkland top specifically for crochet, in other words S-spun. I didn't bother with a photo of that - a rather boring looking bobbin on my Timbertops would be all there was to see! I shall spin a couple of bobbinsful at least, and then risk dyeing it if feeling very brave.

I was shown an absolutely beautiful faux-aran crocheted sweater the other day, gorgeously spun and worked, but it weighed a ton. One of the problems to try to resolve. I have seen a very nice pattern for a vest, good use of stitches and a neat style - that will be something to look further at as well.

Actually, I have more possible projects for this sort of thing, and all sorts of others, than I could shake a stick at. I desperately need to prioritise, I think.....

Now, a new year, so some new pictures of cats. Yes, I know - but I must be allowed to indulge myself sometimes.

The three boys cramming themselves on to a kitchen chair, looking goofy and demon-eyed.

the three boys

And Miss Ruby on the floor nearby, doing her best to ignore them.


That's all, folks. For now.....