Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday, Monday - and I am one step further down the road to old fogeydom

It is raining. Actually, it is lovely. When it has been dry for days on end (admittedly a rare occurrence around these parts)that first freshening of rain is a joy. You can feel everything perking up, and there is a delicious smell of the new.

Actually, generally followed by a positive volley of sneezes from me at the moment as there is also the odd allergen around.

OK, so that is the nice. Now the rant.

First, a bit of background for those who don't know. Many (many!) years ago, I was a librarian. And those are skills that are kind of fundamental and you don't forget in their entirety. So, when I visit a library, I am coming from somewhere ever so slightly different from most. Now, I mainly use the little travelling library van that stops at the top of the lane every other week. Jolly useful, and of course I am aware of the limitations. The latter being outweighed by the former. So, when I wanted a particular book a few weeks ago, I made the request on the van. (Insert twiddling fingers....)

Today, I asked about progress. Sheepish look from the assistant. The "relief" had not passed the message on. OK, slight miffedness, but I could be nice. Especially as she went on to the computer to arrange it then and there. Except - the computer was telling her there were no copies.

Now, this is a book about a very well known Britsih literary lion by a very well known and well-respected British serious literary biographer. It is fairly recent and in print. NOT HAVE IT??? In a borough this size??? Is it any wonder that I am ranting? (I did manage to retain sefficient self control to not actually scream abuse at the young assistant, who was very apologetic and ashamed.)

I shall now step sideways. The advice was to make the arrangements through the library in town. This is now a spiffy thing, the old and attractive building sutiably located in the centre of Hebden Bridge considerably tarted up at great expense and reckoned to be the bees knees.

It looks lovely.

If you have young eyes that can cope with the state of the design art fancy lighting units. And want to use a computer or watch a giant plasma tv screen or two (sic). If you want books, well, you might have to hunt a bit. The pretty new curvy shelves are only half full in the fiction area (once you have decided if you want crime, SF, Romance, a classic or(I kid you not) chick lit. Non-fiction is now known as "Information", and although Dewey is still used, there is no guidance on the shelves, and although I was assured that the shelves were laid out in order, it is no order recognisable to this woman.

There are a bazillion computers, which double as catalgues for the entire library service (I can see a point to that somewhat, I admit) but there is no dedicated card catalogue that would be quick to use for the branch.

So, that's it. I am officially old.

>>Rant off<< Sigh........

In much, much better news....

Friday at AH, really nice day, a little gentle natural dyeing with them, which has prompted me to do a proper project to form the basis of my talk at Woolfest and maybe even an article to send somewhere, who knows. I shall enjoy it, whatever. There is a pot with hibiscus flowers simmering on the hob even as I speak.

Saturday, chores, a pleasant coffee in town watching the world (and the most beeootiful yellow, green and scarlet mohican walk by!) and then a nice supper with DB&SIL.

Sunday, pottering, inside and out. The DSM sowed lots of seeds, and I reorganised the workroom a bit, to facilitate a plunge in to effectiveness this week (no sign of that on the horizon, yet, funny....)

Any minute now?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring has sprung

Spring, young cats, and good weather makes a dangerous combination. For some.

Worms every morning, lovingly brought in to the porch for the DSM to admire. Cats flying in all directions when outside, in hot pursuit of bees, wasps, anything flying really. So far, no-one has been stung, but it can only be a matter of time. It is the teenage rite of passage for moglets.

They have been spending a lot of time, outside. I tried to keep them in today, so I could get on with stuff, but the wailing and gnashing of teeth got too much to bear, and I gave in. I need to watch Ruby's ear, the one with the white stripe. I think she is getting sunburned!

There has been fibre activity. Saturday, "teaching" needle felting to the group in South Lakeland, turned out to be great. They very much seemed to like what I cobbled together for them, and were most inventive. One member spent all day needling several mauve flowers and loads of leaves to adorn a rather wonderful mauve lace hat she was making. I felt quite honoured!

We spent quite a while afterwards pottering back towards Kirby Lonsdale, enjoying the wonderful day, and then had a meal in a pub we like before heading on home. And as the DSM had had a super walk whilst I was working, we felt it had been a most successful day.

Yesterday was just as good weatherwise, and we spent it in the garden, not doing all that much work but being self-indulgent. Good for us, so why not? And I finished this....

scarf from dye-test top

This is a scarf knitted from the top that I used first in the dye experiment. Most of the yarn was spun fairly fine, apart from a few yards that were lumpy bumpy. I'm really please with how it turned out - a simple little thing (yea! for garter stitch scarves!!) but nicely funky.

Because of that and the colourwork sock just barely on the go (several false starts....) I haven't been doing all that much spinning, but might well indulge tonight. I definitely get twitchy if I go too long without spinning.

Other stuff on the go - but more of that later, I need to go get supper.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The trouble with being busy..... that there isn't time to blog.

Easter at home is always a lovely thing, and this one was better than most. So, what was we up to?

Friday, it rained. I was pleased. I had wanted a rainy day to force me to stay in and do a complete sort of the dye shelves. I say "I" - I confess to needing the DSM to help because said shelves were very likely to be home to several large spiders, and whilst I am much better than I was, I do still have an aversion to reaching in to dark areas to pick something up and getting more than I bargained for. In the event, they were all either scarpered or dead - at that time.....

I had decided some time back to totally review me and dyeing. Did I still want to dye? Yes, both "natural" and "synthetic". Did I still want to do workshops in natural dyeing? No. So, I had far more equipment than I was ever going to need again. I had already passed on some of it, and it was high time to go further. In future, small-scale, limited operations.

Such as - dyeing chained top in the fish kettle. This is the second exploratory attempt.

first attempt

As is obvious, I went from using too much dye liquid to using too little. OK, so I am learning the process here, so I am happy, but I didn't want to waste 150gm of good Falkland top, so I gave it another run through to get rid of as much of the white as possible.


Please do not judge me on the colours used - this was purely for experiment only! Although, I am already spinning up the first one, and will use this as well. They don't look too bad when spun. And even going through two dye processes, this one didn't felt, so the method works a treat.

So, on to Saturday. To York to visit the mater, a much better visit than the previous couple. Short and sweet works very well for the both of us. The DSM and I then went on in to town for lunch and a little shopping. Yes!! Even him. I was so proud....

Then, on the way back out, we stopped to window-shop futons. And all of a sudden, were greeted by name from within. What? Turned out that someone who had attended one of our workshops on spindle spinning worked there, had recognised us and rushed over to chat and to thank us for turning her into a complete addict, I mean enthusiastic spindler. We were very touched - it is lovely to get feedback like that and to hear that we are getting it right.

Sunday, the sun shone all day and it was warm. Fabulous spring day. We worked outside for the greater part of it - the DSM up a ladder clearing ivy from the gutters and under the soffits, me planting stuff out. That chased spiders back in to the house, much to Barni's delight if not mine, but t least they were of manageable sizes.

Unlike the one that I suddenly saw on my beloved's back, as he turned around to go indoors. So huge that I couldn't help.....well, squeaking a bit. So there was I frantically looking for an implement long enough for me to be able to approach the monster to remove it (too close, and it would, of course, leap off on to me, you understand...) and him leaping about trying to shake it off. Which he did succeed in doing, only for it to take to lurking around the doorway, pesky thing. If it comes in, Barni is welcome to it....please!

And yesterday? Still pretty sunny, but more of a chill breeze, so after I had done some more planting (I now have a fair number of herbs potted up) I came in to play with beads for a while. Not really all that successfully, so nothing as yet to show for it. I have done so little of late, and it is really telling.

Now, back to reality. I have loads of paperwork of one sort or another to do, not to mention laundry.

But always some time for a little knitting, don't go round without it.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Goings on

I've been busy. Outings, innings. Spinning, knitting, dyeing. And as spring continues to be pretty springy, getting more done in the garden, too.

First up, a finished pair of socks. the thicker, Araucania ones, cast on as a speedy knit, and so they proved to be.

Araucania socks

I was galloping towards the toe on the second sock on Sunday at the Bear knitters group, when someone said that the finished one seemed to have a pointed toe. Indeed so - I have pointed feet. But it would have been nice if they matched, I suppose. Here we have a prime example of what happens when you don't write down exactly what you do, count rows and follow your own instructions. Yer toesies don't match. But as they feel perfectly ok on, and if anyone is grovelling down by my feet and risk a comment - well, they will get what they deserve! Meanwhile, the Jitterbug pair march on at a slow but steady pace - the picot hem has been completed, the rest will follow.

So, to dyeing.

Goose sh.... green

Yup, more goose shit green. Actually, more of a pale yellow, and deeply unexciting. This was some purchased lichen, that I think I acquired somewhere along the way. I wouldn't bother again.

Goose sh.... green

These two are somewhat better, though.

Madder & logwood

Logwood and madder. I have to admit, I am being rather underwhelmed with the colours I am getting. I think that me only rarely doing natural dyeing - well, any dyeing - is showing. Utterly gorgeous colours can be obtained from natural dyes, but you have to devote yourself to it, experiment, make it your main focus. And I haven't done that and in truth, don't want to. I remain fascinated by it historically, but as a practitioner, maybe not so much. I'm going to be doing more over the next few seeks, though, and it could be that my opinion will change again, and why not?

More dyeing. I was reading somewhere on teh interwebs about how all the super indie dyers prepare their fibre by "plaiting" it, which I interpreted as chaining it as one would a warp. So, I had me a go. And for an extremely quick and dirty trial, I am very pleased with how it turned out. I used too much dye solution, so my colours merged too much, but I got good penetration with minimal disturbance of the roving. More work to be done. It is going to be a bit of a pain to accomplish though, as I had some help from the young cats as I had rather feared that I might, and they had too much fun. Ah, well.

dyed roving and Spindlewood spindles

Look closely, and you will see - two beautiful Spindlewood spindles. A box arrived this morning with my order for Woolfest - lovely spindles, and their packaging was a work of art, too. And not only did they fly here at practically the speed of light, but they managed to whizz straight past Customs!

Speaking of cats....

Neelix & Ruby


It still seems strange that there are only three......

The exhibition at Temporary Art Space had changed last week. I shall be interested to see if viewing it again this Thursday will make any difference, but I wasn't as enthused as with the first one. Just my taste, I guess.

There is one very large installation that is a hut made from old radiators that I quite like, particularly getting up close - I took this shot that I like.


The one I did very much like - and I'm not sure if it is for the right reasons? Whatever they might be.... (That sentence has gone somewhere and convoluted itself.) Well, I can't show you it, which is one chad taken form a printed sheet, in a very large frame. That I like of itself. But this is what you get when you photograph it hung, and that I like even more.


You see, I know the chad is there.