Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Unable to concentrate on very much creative at the moment, I have finally finished off two pairs of socks that have been hanging around with open toes for a good while.


The red is Araucania, the green is - at last! - Jitterbug. It did pool rather, but not to an extent that I felt I couldn't live with it.

And it just seemed sensible to economise on camera work.....

Also finished is the first stage of the setting up of the former small spare room as small work room. The size makes it almost impossible to photograph adequately, not being trained as an estate agent!

new worksroom

The single futon makes for rather a large chair, but at least we do have room for two chairs, so whichever one of us in in residence can be hospitable to the other.

new workroom

I am considering moving beading stuff in there, as it will be then easier to leave work out without dodging around it. Not sure yet. It has to be christened as a sleeping space again, first!

I am still panicking, but not quite as badly. I have been greatly reassured reading around on blogs and on Ravelry to hear that everyone else is doing likewise. (Why do I always think that everything is just me?) I am nearly there. And, great news, the Greensleeves spindles are due to be delivered tomorrow! I can't remember what I asked for, so it will be as always a lovely surprise opening up the box. It is looking increasingly unlikely that the final box of Polwarth will arrive in time, but that really doesn't matter too much. The merino/tencel and merino/bamboo are more popular, and we have plenty of those.

I have been enjoying knitting up the merino/bamboo "Obscure Rainbow" so much that I really think I must snaffle some more. It has been a nice soothing, simpleminded project to have on the needles when I couldn't concentrate on anything else much.

One more photograph - I couldn't resist. I walked in to the bedroom this morning and found this object basking shamelessly in the sunshine, on the clean laundry in the basket no less. He kindly waited for me to go downstairs to fetch the camera, and let me take several shots of His Beautiness.

barni basking

He is a little show-off! But cute.

I should really add a report of World Wide Knit In Public Day last Saturday, but I forgot to take my camera with me. We met in the Piece Hall in Halifax, which made a pleasant gathering spot, but despite the crowds there for some event, not one person that I am aware of came and talked to us. I suppose....that maybe we should consider some sort of banner? Though that does seem a bit - organised. We are talking about having a Picknit later in the summer, so perhaps we could discuss it then.

OK, off to delve into the old (very) natural dye samples for Woolfest. They will be better than nothing. Valley Fibres tonight - it is all go, these days.

ETA: it is pretty unlikely that I will blog again before going off to Cockermouth. But I shall take my laptop, and mayb, just maybe, the mobile broadband will work, in which case - well, you never know! Whatever, if you are going to Woolfest, have a great time, and drop by to say hello, 'k?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

We are all entitled

To panic sometimes. Today is my day. Just bear with me for one post......


The trouble is, it all has to come at once. And to compound matters, I set up some additional deadlines for myself that I now see were not sensible. (Well, of course.)

First - Woolfest. OK, so a couple of weeks to go, but we actually leave the Saturday before. I haven't finished the signage. A box of fibre and a box of spindles have yet to arrive. (This always happens, no matter how early I order stuff.) Actually, in the grand scheme of things, neither matter all that much as we have some of the spindles from that particular maker in hand, and the fibre is going to be gorgeous as ever, but ridiculously expensive because of the ££ against the $$, higher shipping costs and higher duties. Lovely stuff, though, and I should enjoy spinning it myself, so wotthehell!

Then there is the talk on natural dyeing. Which I do know that I could do standing on my head, but of course have to rework the entire thing several times over. Did we say perfectionist? In so many ways I am not, but sometimes, it creeps up on me...

Plus, I can't find my freakin' sets of colour samples. I have some new, and some old, but my beautifully laid out cards have vanished into the mire that is my workroom. They will turn up in September......

And even before Woolfest, I have an AH class, with I think three beginners as well as a felting session to oversee.

We get back after all that lot, and it is the Nancy Bush workshops. Now, this is virtually all organised, I'm not teaching just gophering gently, and it is going to be huge fun having Nancy here and meeting all the workshop participants, but even so, it is there, and I will be thinking....

I should be finishing off the Spin to Knit stuff. Which I have so nearly done, but not quite. Notes to finish off (at least I now have all the content and running order all pinned down) materials to round up and purchase where necessary (hurrah! for Woolfest)

Then there is....of course.....housework. Dust and cat fluff everywhere. I can't decide which would be less stressful doing it myself or getting a crew in (oh, I've done that before!) Ironing, too. Why is it that all the clothes you want for any given occasion(s) are in the ironing basket, and even linen doesn't look good that rumpled.

What is worse is that I am fully aware that It Is All My Fault. I set it all up. I indulged in avoidance, displacement and procrastination. All I can hope is that I can look back on it all and smile.....

I actually managed to sit behind a spinning wheel last night. Boy, did that feel good. So, maybe a bit more of that, a few more calming thoughts, and a real look at the situation instead of doing through my fingers whilst screaming, and I shall survive this.

Thank you for listening!

Beadlizard left a comment on my last post, asking why I was so freaked at the armed police. Syl, the police in the UK still do not routinely carry weapons, and it is very, very unusual to see them carrying them openly. Weapons have been available to them after special training, for a long time, and these officers are increasingly deployed. But the ordinary patrol officers are still not armed.

The UK has some of the toughest gun controls going, and, many of us consider, therefore a low rate of gun crime - less than 0.5% of all recorded crime, and if air guns are excluded, less than 0.2%, according to one source I found. The only gun ownership that I have any experience of is sporting guns, for country pursuits, and we don't even have the extent of hunting that you do in the US. So to see what I did was a considerable shock, and I was grateful to the Judge for warning us. I don't know if there are always armed officers deployed at the Court, or if this was a special case. I hope the latter, but fear the former.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Alternative universe....

After watching the plays on Saturday, which deal at length with the concept of alternative universes, other worlds - it was an exceedingly strange experience to drop in to one this morning.

Please bear with the necessary opacity, as I relate the bits that I can.

Today I visited a Crown Court. Drove up to the barrier, gave names, and were recognised. (I never deal comfortably with being described as "a lady", but never mind.) We had to park, and wait for a security guard to come and escort us. While we did so, a large prisoner transport drove past, delivering the day's work, no doubt. Up in a lift, and then a long walk along a seemingly endless, and seemingly circular corridor. It was just as if we were being taken round and around to confuse us and prevent us from finding our own way out to reality.

Arrived at Hizonner's Chambers. Yes, really, and with the Robing Room adjacent. But nothing grand. Modern, small, full of tottering piles of papers. Did what had to be done, which in my case was not much. Exquisite courtesy was shown, which was, I suppose, nice.

We had, of course, to be escorted back out, fair enough. I had expected another Security person to be summoned, but not. But the truly disconcerting moment was when, as we approached one of the many doors on the corridor, Hizonner raised a hand, and said "Ah! We are about to pass two heavily (sic) armed police officers, do not be alarmed."

Frankly, I was. They sat at their ease, bearing what I suppose were semi-automatic weapons. I don't think that I ever ever not be alarmed, or get used to that.

Back down in the lift, and into the car quick smart. We fled, back to the peaceful rolling countryside and a very civilized pot of coffee.

A couple of hysterical moments. AS we had neared the building complex, we knew where the car park was from the map provided, and turned down the street that lead to it. Unfortunately, this was one way against us, the Police Station was next door, and every single vehicle, most of them flashing at us, were police cars.


They maybe saw me in the passenger seat frantically flapping a map book and looking suitably aghast. In any event,, we turned round and exited smartly, and were not stopped by any officer of the law.......

But then, I nearly disgraced myself in Judge's Chambers, by being totally puzzled on entry by what appeared to be a miniature child's car seat on the table in front of me. It was only after quite a few moments that I realised that what I was looking at was an upside-down wig.

Grey horsehair.

Fibre content!!

Sunday, June 07, 2009


No, no, don't get excited - although I am quite sure that no-one did!

The marathon in question was six hours of watching theatrical performance. We went, yesterday, to see "His Dark Materials" at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

It was lovely. I had heard good reports going back to the original production at the South Bank, and then again of this co-production with Birmingham Rep, and they were quite true. The complexity of the story was dealt with superbly well, and the direction was stunning, scene moving rapidly into another scene without any confusion, even when actors were doing extremely rapid doublings back - costumes must have been flying in all directions, sometimes. (I don't think most people would have ever thought of it like that, it's just me, fascinated as ever by the staging.)

The performances were mostly outstanding (I had a few doubts about Mrs Coulter, who was a bit shouty) But almost best of all were the puppets that were the daemons. They were really very simple - as was all the staging, admirably so - but they somehow became natural extensions of the actors manipulating them, so much so that you did kind of no longer see the actors. The only exceptions were the Gallivespians, over which a decision had been made to play them for laughs. Which is, I think pretty true to the book, as was the thing in it's entirety, but for me it did jar a little.

The armoured bears were noble, and the witches magnificent. Most amazing of all, Farder Coram managed something approaching a credible East Anglian accent!!

Now I need to go back to the books and reread them.

That took care of Saturday. Today, we are in a state of flux, with the DSM manfully wrestling with the new furniture for the former spare room, soon to be new (small) workroom. It's going to be good, I think. What is more, I have already managed to Freecycle the spare beds, just like that. How nice to find that the system works!

But we also had a final visit from the website person, and - ta da! - here we go! A little minimalist as yet, but it will develop quite rapidly post-Woolfest.

Fun, no? (Although I can't quite believe in it yet.....

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

What news, Rialto-wise, or otherwise?

None of the former, sadly. Although I wouldn't particularly want there to be at the moment, given the weather.

It has been hot. Very beautiful, the landscape in full flower with masses of colour rioting over fields and hedges. I don't think I ever remember seeing such a magnificent buttercup crop, and everything else is just as lush.

We went to an event on Sunday that was somehow quintessentially the best of English. (Some readers will know what I am talking about here, but I'm not going to spell out all the details, not really relevant.) It was a retirement party for someone I have known for a few years now, arranged at her place of work by her work colleagues. The weather was perfect, and they had been loaned a small marquee to keep off the heat of the sun (or, if it had been necessary, the rain!) Everything was perfect, actually. It was completely obvious that everyone had respected, liked and admired this person, and everything was beautifully done. Friends and colleagues gave speeches, comedy performances, and played exquisite music. The venue, famed for its food, had pulled out every single stop and then some, and gave us an absolutely magnificent tea. I shall miss her, of course, but it was one hell of a send-off and I am so glad to have been there.

Back in the real world, it has been a bit too hot for over-exertion, but some knitting and spinning has been going on. And, as promised, I have a Finished Object.

Now, as lacy shawls go, this one is very simple, although effective. It is a Heartstrings pattern, good clear instructions, charts, etc. but when did that ever stop me going wrong. So, yes, frogged a time or two, but finished now, and I am pleased with it.

A view...


And a close up....


I have just, through my wide open skylight window, heard a squirrel barking loudly. Not the fault of one of the Snowshoes, this time! I get lovely sounds drifting in, my favourites being the wood pigeons and the black caps. We even see the latter, occasionally!

OK, off to cook supper, fortunately a stove top dish planned, as that's all there is going to be for the next couple of weeks. My second oven has gone sulky - the top one did ages ago, and I foolishly ignored it. Fingers crossed that we can get it working again, I do not want to have to hunt for a new one, it was bad enough last time. Because of the fact that people don't cook these days - silly little ovens and great big useless grills.

Don't get me started....yet!