Saturday, February 27, 2010

Random jottings for the week ending 28.02.10

With no photographs. Because my camera is haunted. srsly. It will sit there, and switch itself on, when I am feet away from it. Or switch itself off when I have switched itself on, and then spontaneously go on again. I could use it, and then immediately remove the battery again, which is my temporary solution, a kind of digital age garlic, I suppose. But I confess to being ever so slightly afraid of what the resulting image might be - I do not want a dark, fuzzy, horned beast, or gauzy white ectoplasmic entity infesting my Flickr account........

Can you tell I am feeling silly? Adrift on the back of a minor tsunami in a coracle? Never fear, I do know that all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well, but I wish it would all jolly well hurry up!

So. A social week, with therefore a lesser quantity of crafting. Book Group, a day out taking lunch to an old Coven friend and a visit from my sister yesterday. We finally got to sort out her knitting problem, and I gave her the Roseland Bags "Cosy Cats" bag I had bought for her a while back. And one for myself, dammit. And, o buggrit, I had to go to the web site to get the url, and saw yet more I am now lusting after. Dancing Horses, and Diamante and Feathers sock project bags, for instance. Groan. Anyway, I just happened to mention that I might be destashing some yarn soon, if she might be interested, and she didn't say no.

I also need to celebrate an absolutely kick-arse veggie "moussaka" (quotes because I wouldn't want to offend any Greek cooks out there - this is my own thrown-together-based-on-an-idea-by moussaka). I confess to using Quorn mince. I used to use green or brown lentils, but the texture isn't quite right. So that, an onion, a tin of tomatoes, a few elderly mushrooms left over (optional), a little sherry, a little stock, handfuls of whatever dried herbs come to hand, garlic, lashings of cinnamon. Potato slices. Aubergine, of course! A Bechamel sauce made with soya milk because there was some left in the fridge from something else, and handfuls of good cheddar on top. Bung in the oven until it looks done.

Oh, yum. And, fortunately, yum all over again for lunch today, as there were leftovers, and not too much because we are off to have dinner in York with old and dear friends. They so very kindly come up to visit my mater occasionally.

I have spun. Lots on spindles, some on wheels. I finsished some green mohair blend batts that I had hoped might go with the previously spun green mohair from Rhinebeck that I am at present knitting. Not sure. The knitting has progressed a bit. I am simply knitting, no pattern, and I do know how stupid that is, but I can't seem to help myself. I will Confess All in due course.

OK, that's it. The rest of the week happened, but is not blogworthy or in some cases bloggable as yet. The weather has been pretty unspeakable, now that any snow that falls (and yes, it is still happening) has reverted to being the more usual British kind that immediately turns to evil brown slush.

I wonder what Spring will be like :D

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Woke up this morning (ta da!) to this:

The view from the bedroom window, with the window firmly closed, and me on the inside. It is very, very cold. And I still like it......

This is forecast for most of the week, which might put the kibosh on some of my plans, as we didn't get the DSM's car out of the lane, so it will now be stuck. Ah, well, nothing that can't be rearranged.

We have had flurries around most of last week, but nothing very much. Although, Friday was an AH day, and going over the top road to Burnley, there was quite a bit. Anyway, as I write this, it is snowing again!

AH was pretty quiet, we had fewer people than usual, but two of the four new spinners returned, which was nice. I was rather late leaving, having to have a meeting with a staff member about the weekend coming up in the summer, but had hoped to get home over the top way as it was such a light afternoon, but fate intervened in the shape of an accident on my route, and I ended up having to get myself through Burnley with no map, painfully aware of the paucity of road signs, in the dark. Somehow, I contrived, but it made me all the more keen to acquire a GPS!

Saturday was Guild, again a really good day. No speaker, although many were being led in a felting exercise. I spent quite a bit of time fettling wheels for people, but then managed to get some time with my spindle whilst chatting. We were talking about "innovation" in the fibre arts, which our new Chairperson want s as the them for next year's workshops leading to an exhibition to celebrate the Guild's 30th birthday. Many of us are, I fear, going to freak - it should be more about "tradition", will be said. But the more I thought about it, the more I could see some good possibilities for interesting workshops.

Neither of us slept well last night - partly because of over-energetic young snowshoes bouncing around - so we are having a lazy Sunday. Sundays always used to be like that in my youth. I would be packed off to Sunday School, or church, maybe; well, that's a thing of the past! But then we either visited grandma, or spent the afternoon watching some crumbling fillum on the telly. I looked - there's nothing on. Well, except, coincidentally, an elderly Western! But I think I have grown out of those.

Tea, music, iPod, spinning.....and watching the snow fall.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

And so to spindles

The amount that I use my spindles varies. I always have some spindling on the go - by the computer, for instance, if waiting for chat, downloads, watching catch-up tv. And there is usually something downstairs as well. For various reasons, I am upping my spindling activity just now - I did consider reverting to my former philosophy of having a spindle project in every room, but have settled instead for several projects in two or three rooms.........

These have been the two ongoing downstairs spindles for some time now. Two different silks from Royale Hare, a little Golding spindle and one that for ages was known as "spindle of unknown origin" but I have now found its tag and know it to be from Asciano. Quite lovely to look at and to use. I very much enjoy spindle spinning silk, and this will continue to be a work in progress.

I have added more luxury fibre to the mix, though.

Cashmere, on a Greensleeves Damsel Monique. I really like these spindles, too, and this one never made it in to stock on the pretext that it had the very slightest wobble, probably due to the wood - Masur birch, if memory serves, with an irregular grain, which would, of course lead to a small imbalance. Yeah, right. This spindle runs for such a long time that cashmere is easily spun with an extended draw on it with no problems of too little twist. Fun.

And just to prove that I do complete projects, not merely start them, here is the plyed merino(?) from the Extended Coven Project, and the new cd case spindle from Etsy with some rather nice dyed fibre unearthed from the stash, probably originally from Freyalynn.

Now, these two. Look carefully! Yes, that's right, your eyes do not deceive you, one is a bottom whorl. For various reasons, and I will write it all up in time. Meanwhile, I am enjoying spinning a lovely merino/tencel/bamboo blend from Royale Hare. And yes, I do know that tencel and bamboo are both rayon, but this one uses the nicer, rather more matte and almost but not quite "fluffy" bamboo that makes a gorgeous soft yarn.

This next is a new spindle, from a new UK spindle maker. Very, very pretty, very well made and first impressions are leaning towards favourable. I need to give it a good workout, and that might take a while. For now, I shall mainly sit and admire it.

Speaking of new spindles - and indeed of the aforementioned top/bottom whorl project. I decided that I needed to do it with a properly matched pair. So I have on order two Golding 2" ebony spindles of the same weight, one each way. Now, that really is going to be fun! As they are quite small and light, I need to think what to spin on them - I have some superfine merino, or a merino-silk blend that might do nicely.....

And no - I have not given up wheel spinning!

Three ply merino/bamboo for socks, fibre from Bonkers Originals.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Still here, or rather, returned

Got back from Cornwall on Sunday, just in time to attend another Guild funeral. Ah, well.

First, though, a couple of pictures from before we left. We had a few days of deliciously frosty weather, real hoar frosts.

We are not yet (dare I say three cheers?) completely done with this better than usual winter. Yes, I know I am odd. There was a little snow over night, and there may be more to come in the next couple of days. Although I did see in Cornwall a huge swathe of daffodils in full bloom! They were on a south facing slope - all the rest were still not quite fully up. But there were snowdrops in profusion, as there are here, even in our own garden.

Cornwall was....cold, sometimes sunny and very, very quiet. Far fewer visitors than usual even for February. And we did nothing. It was what the DSM needed. Fortunately, the newly found cottage we rented was lovely, and extremely warm and comfortable.

We went to the sea precisely once - and I can prove it....

The usual place, of course, on a perfect - if freezing! - afternoon.

It did mean that I managed more reading than usual, and a lot of knitting and spinning.

As you see, I finished the "Waving not drowning" socks, and immediately cast on another pair in the handspun three ply Swartbles, which are coming along very nicely. I did a great deal of spinning as well, but I think that deserves a post of its own.

I'm still a bit....something or other. But there is plenty of stuff - projects - bubbling away, so that is good.

Onward and upward.........