Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Moving on....

The battery charger for the camera battery has disappeared. I wish I would stop losing things, not all of which turn up again. Mind you, the DSM is probably now worse than I am. Last night, he was thrashing around in the sitting room plaintively demanding "where are my glasses?" and I was (ahem) paying the appropriate amount of attention. Until suddenly the question stopped, and he did have the grace to roar with laughter, because his glasses case was in his hand.

We seem to have reached that stage. Uh huh.

I meant to take a photograph of the purple shawl, but I forgot (what was I just saying?) Perhaps I will simply wait until it is completed - I can't have many more rows of body to do, and hopefully will be able to take it on the latest flying visit to Cornwall this weekend to work on.

I continue to spin the white faced woodland. And have just dyed a couple of skeins of it. I was given a small quantity of bits of walnut hull - I am not a great fan of dyeing with walnut, unless it has been gathered by me or a friend, as this was. After all, there are lots of nice natural coloured fleeces around, so why dye brown? Although this is quite a pretty colour.

Walnut dyed yarn

Then, at AH on Friday, there was this ginormous Masham fleece, which somehow clambered in to the car and came home with me. Not the greatest of fleeces, probably ram by the....aroma....and looks maybe a bit coarse. But I have only washed a tiny bit so far, and it may prove better inside the giant bundle. But I wanted actual fleece for "the project" whatever that turns out to be, and there it was.


(OK, can someone tell me why the Snowshoes lick things like shiny cardboard, photographs, glossy magazines? What possible nutrient can they be lacking that could be this supplied? One of them has just been at the recycling pile next to the pc. Weird little animals!)

Ah was a good day, as ever, with no less than three beginner spinners. Unfortunately, only one of them got it in the time. Though for once, I am not blaming myself! On the way home, I remembered that I am signed up for Maggie Casey's teaching spinning class at SOAR - I shall see if I can raise the problem I encountered with her. If anyone can help, Maggie can!!

Saturday was a bright and glorious day. We went to my niece's housewarming and birthday party for a while, and I am thrilled to announce that she has won a prize!
For this. It is a little startling to one of my generation, but I genuinely like it a lot. It has her signature wit, and I like her fascination with the things that are overlooked or discarded. Anyway we sat in the garden for a while, and then had to depart early because we had tickets for the first opera of the season. Werther, by Massenet, which I didn't know and had not expected to like, but did. Apart from wanting to slap Werther for being so daft as to shoot himself for love of an unattainable woman. The music was super, though, great performances. And just nice to be back in the theatre.

Sunday we were pretty tired, and chilled out - how nice - we have managed a few days ike that recently, which can't be bad.

So - now. Do I go on a battery charger hunt, or spin?


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rural vignettes

The morning dawns (figuratively speaking) grey, cloudy, misty. Madam Ruby has popped in, deposited the morning rodent into the litter tray, and disappeared again. Fortunately, not for too long.

The doorbell rings while I am in the shower. Later, when I remember to think about it, I find a plastic bag hanging on the door knob, stuffed full with Wensleydale locks. Now, that is a good sort of delivery to have! And I also know that it comes from barely a mile away up on the tops, giving an extra (spin? twist? lustre?) to buying locally. That's a good start to the day.

The weather picks up, after I get back from the local market. It isn't a farmers' market, but I do notice that there are more stalls selling bread, baked goods that are from very close by. That's nice to see, even if I don't often buy from them. The fish, which I do buy, comes fresh every Thursday from the west coast, which is as local as you can get to here for fish, so I suppose that is something.

By mid-afternoon, after I have made an initial browse through the latest Spin Off, the sun is shining warmly, and I make a foray up on to our eccentric garden to pick spinach for our supper. The neighbouring house (not the other half of ours, wherein resides the Troll) is owned by the Trust and is a holiday let. All this week, whoever is in there has been practising the English concertina whenever there has been late afternoon sun, and he is doing so as I go to start back to the house. But it is too nice - the warmth, the bright light on my face, the music (country dance tunes).

So, I sit there for...well, I don't know how long, and it is bliss.

And then a neighbour arrives on the doorstep offering rhubarb crowns. Now, despite the fact that is is a little bit the horticultural equivalent of ginger beer plant, I accept gratefully, as we don't have any at all, and rhubarb is well known as a spring tonic......crumble, anyway.

As I have been feeling....seedy, this week, with the strange non-cold virus, and am only just beginning to feel human again, this is all a most excellent boost. I have AH tomorrow, which I look forward to, but I do know that I have three beginners in the class. This is probably the maximum I can properly manage, and do something meaningful for everyone else.

Which reminds me, I need to add three beginner spindles to the to-go pile.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Yet another scarf

The scarf knitted from the camel and silk has been finished - knitting and dyeing. This is the "before" version:


I had originally thought that a teal/blue sort of colour would look nice. But I sat and stared at it for a while, and thought to myself that the natural colour was beige, which would tend to dull down those colours. Whilst something in the gold/red/.....tawny would be enhanced.

Tawny, of course, being inspired by the season.

So I dragged out the famous free dyes liberated from the former carpet factory to see what I had, and then flew entirely by the seat of my pants. A quarter teaspoonful of "Bordeaux" with a tiny bit of "(something) yellow. Eyeballed in the container when mixed with a little water, it didn't look right. Bit more yellow - nah. Sprinkle in a little bit more - yeah!

Don't you just love my scientific method of dyeing?


But I just love the colour I got. Maybe my instincts aren't so dusty? After all, I don't need to exactly duplicate this colour, and I could get into the same ball park, all the while the dyes last.

Today didn't turn out quite as I had imagined. I had completely forgotten that a friend was coming over, and had just finished leaving her a lengthy answerphone message to say that I didn't feel so great with the cold and that the DSM had to have an emergency visit to the dentist, when she arrived.


Still, it all worked out just fine - the three of us had a nice lunch out, and a bit of a chat, did a bit of knitting (all three) and it gave him a some respite from worrying about his doomed tooth. Which will likely come out on Friday, when his INR had been checked, because the sensible dentist doesn't want to yank it if the DSM is then going to exsanguinate in the chair! It's a shame, they have worked hard over the years to save the gnasher, but have finally lost the battle.

Sorry if that is TMI - blame it on me being sat here writing blog posts at some stupid hour again.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

(watch this space)

I don't know what title to use for this post. Perhaps by the time I have finished writing it, inspiration will have struck? Or not?

We had a great day yesterday, teaching a spinning workshop. We were revisiting "old friends", always a pleasure. But I had taught a spinning workshop with them previously, and wanted to be careful not to repeat too much, whilst at the same time giving those who were new to the Guild (and newish spinners) something to get their teeth in to. So we did basics in the morning and then played with spinning colourful yarns in the afternoon.

fibre frenzy

We had fun!

I did really enjoy it, which considering I have something of a cold sort of thing, is good going. Ah, well, get it out of the way before our trip.......

Speaking of colour -

more autumn colour


The virginia creeper is turning the most glorious shade of red. This is one of the compensations for the summer ending and autumn beginning - all the wonderful reds and tawnies. Our foliage is by and large not overly spectacular these days - I am sure that woodland used to blaze with colour much more than it does now. (Unless that is in the same false memory folder as those long, hot summers of our youth?) But there is fabulous colour to be seen still here and there.

And, finally, colour in a finished object!

These are the fingerless mitts from Felt Studio UK's batts that I bought at Woolfest.

glitzy mittz

I had envisaged some slightly different originally, longer and more ornamented, but in the event, the way the yarn turned out (very nicely) that didn't seem so appropriate, and I ended up with something rather more functional. I do actually have a small amount of the yarn left, so I might try out a less functional and more decorative neck piece. (Long pause for cogitation.)

No inspiration has struck for a title, though, and my head is feeling decidedly muzzy. Lunch, and then I shall drag my sorry arse and my knitting out in to the garden for a while, as The Sun Is Shining!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Heigh ho

Twelve o' the clock and all's well.

Not exactly. I'm awake, when I don't want to be.

Being awake and a'doing at midnight is fine and dandy when you have said to yourself "OK, so I'm a night owl (true) and I am going to stay up until the wee smalls doing this and that joyously selected from the catalogue of Things I Like To Do. But when you have settled down all comfortably curled up with the usual suspects who share the bed with you, listened to one and a half podcasts and - bammo - suddenly you are totally conscious and unsleepy with wee, wandering aches in various parts of your anatomy. Well, that's a bummer.

So, the philosophy these days is to get up, do something from the next day's "to-do" list (which can't be noisy, otherwise the DSM gets disturbed, so boring vacuuming is out) (And so is making the phone calls on tomorrow's schedule, for, obviously, the same reason.)

Hence, a blog post, albeit a photoless one as crashing around the house gathering the necessary would likewise be ditto.) To be followed by some spinning. All washed down with a nice cup of herb tea. Which I could, more pretentiously, call a tisane.

I am probably awake and slightly aching because of having been at a Valley Fibres meeting. The chairs are not the most comfortable in the world, and neither is the wheel I took, the Little Gem. Is there such a thing as the perfect travelling wheel? I ask myself by the way. Anyway, a very pleasant evening, talking about spinning, and wheels, and people's alpacas. And the recently discovered knitting group in HB, which is to be investigated tomorrow evening, by someone else, not me - though I will probably try to get there soon.

And Sunday was the Bear knitting group, another lovely relaxed occasion. Good company and dam' fine cake, going some way to not having Thursday evening cake, as the coven is otherwise occupied at the moment and so not convening. Can a coven convene? I rather like the sound of that.

Went to Adelaide Walker last Friday, for (mainly) workshop supplies. I was reasonably restrained. Although I might have to go back before we leave for SOAR, as SueB has made a request for cashmere which can't be fulfilled at present but maybe can within the time. Such a hardship.

The same current projects have been worked upon - the Whitefaced Woodland is spinning up fast and satisfactorily, and I should soon be able to do some more dyeing; the green and purple mitts make slow progress, and I have decided that the top bit on the completed one is too big, so I am making some decreases in the second which means that the first is going to have to be frogged back to just above the thumb. No biggie; if I could just spend some solid time on them, they would be done in a trice.

But no - I start another mini-project. The pretty dyed Polwarth that I S-spun and left as singles for crochet is being crocheted. Into a bag, what else. Which will be lightly felted. It is nice to work, and I very much like the way the colour behaves and appears in double crochet (that's UK double crochet....) So much so that I am exceedingly tempted to grab one of the kilos that is meant to be stock and do it all for a more major project. I could really do with a new waistcoat.......

So, that's the news that's fit to print. Now for a little soothing spinning......

Thursday, September 10, 2009

If you ask nicely.....

....sometimes you get your wish!

For the last two days, the sun has shone brilliantly and pleasantly warmly. and we are promised at least one more day, I think - but whatever, it has been gorgeous.

I made good use of it. Yesterday, I went over to East Riddlesden Hall to meet two old college friends for lunch, a wander round and a good chat. I hadn't been for ages, and the Trust have done a lot to the garden since the last time. It was looking lovely on such a beautiful day.

East Riddlesden

East Riddlesden


We think this was a delphinium, although a sort of "grandiflora" version, perhaps?

Japanese anemone

And these are always favourites of mine.

After a sun-inspired burst of responsibility, I treated myself to a couple of hours in our own garden, mostly knitting the faux Spanish lace shawl, but doing a tiny bit of weeding - I would have done more, but it was too hot! (At least, that is my excuse....) There are pretty things to see there, as well.



And things are getting very autumnal.

Virginia creeper

As I said, I have been knitting, and I am spinning too. I started sampling the Bowmont x Shetland, which I have yet to ply and wash. The staple length is a bit variable, but mainly quite short. It is going to need quite a bit of prep, proper combing - the dog comb wasn't sufficient. It is a little bit - well, not neppy, possibly slightly cotted. Combed and dizzed off, it is going to be lovely, though.

Bowmont x Shetland

And I have spent a few hours with the Whitefaced Woodland roving that is so nice to spin - actually, this batch is very slightly bitty, too, but not enough to spoil the pleasure. while I spin, I keep mulling over how I am going to knit it up, but nothing definite rises to the surface yet.

Tomorrow, I am off to lunch with Magrat, and visiting Adelaide Walker, strictly in the line of duty you understand. I have a couple of workshops coming up that I need supplies for, and a project that I have in mind for future workshops. Or something.

Yes, really. It's a hard life, but there you go. I'm nothing if not conscientious!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Cats, spinning, dyeing, knitting and cats

Time flies while you are watching the rain stream down and the thermometer plunging. I have managed to avoid actually putting on the central heating by virtue of extra shawls and socks, cuddling cats at all possible opportunities and judicious use of the hot water bottle.

I have been spinning. the natural Polwarth is completed, and I am having an intermission to sample the BowmontxShetland (which is quite gorgeous). I will photograph and write up the results soon, I hope.

I cast on this yesterday. I like the look of the pattern, and I wanted a quick knit for some rather nice fine purple stuff that has been sitting around. I have another skein in a closely related shade, which I might use for an edging. Might. Other than that, the bamboo socks make good bedtime knitting if I feel more like listening to my iPod than properly reading, and the camel and silk scarf is making some progress sitting by the computer and being picked up in odd moments. I am battling a bad bout of startitis - although should I say "bad"? Isn't it all good?

As for dyeing - nothing new, but I forgot to talk about the indigo vat from the coven meeting. It had looked as if there was a lot of colour still in it. So we saved it, and the run-off liquid gathered as stuff had been taken out, and gave it a good dose of Spectralite. Which very successfully revived it, and it went on giving colour for some time. Another interesting thing - a couple of skeins had been left in the vat for the entire week in between sessions, and they came out wishy washy in the extreme. I have this vague notion that I have read that colour can be stripped off fibre again in these circumstances - I need to check up on that.

So, cats. Last week I went to see the friend from whom we acquired the snowshoes.



This is Hollyberry. Remind you of anyone?

Barni paws

Oops, no, that won't do! Try this.....


They are brother and sister, but I can't remember if whole or half. I can certainly see a resemblance, even if no-one else can!

And, just so the other two don't feel left out - though Ruby resolutely refused to turn to smile for the camera. (OK, feel free to rush away and vomit now....)

Neekix and Ruby

I did a deal with the DSM today that if I did a massive load of ironing, he would cook supper - he thinks that is a bargain! So, having done this blog post, I can go back to the knitting.

I just wish that it would stop being so very dark and dank. Perhaps we will have an Indian Summer? Maybe? Please?