Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I have just landed in the studio for the first time in a few days, and am treating myself to a rare latte. Life is conspiring to gift me a series of late nights and early mornings, plus plenty to do. I suppose I really shouldn't grumble!

We had a lovely weekend down in Bedfordshire teaching a spindle spinning workshop. We felt this went very well, and feedback has so far confirmed that at least some of the participants felt the same. They all worked very hard, and we crammed a lot in, but there was much chat, laughter and cake (excellent lemon drizzle) as well.

We had to stay two nights because of the distance, but our lovely hosts, who we did already know, treated us royally. Good food, just the right amount of wine, and lots of extremely varied chat.

How did I get to be so lucky, eh!

Now I need to buckle down to some work in the studio. The 'Pygora Project' needs working on and documenting as I go, as I intend to get an article out of it. Any knitting with hand spun is somewhat stalled, which is frustrating, so I must address that, too.

Knitting at home has seen me finish the afterthought heel Wollmeise socks. The Wollmeise was lovely to knit and looks great. The afterthought heel? Not so much. I am reinforced in my hatred of anything other than a top down sock (which admittedly this was) with some sort of proper, turned heel executed at the proper time. Old Fogey, or what!! So that is what I am now knitting, with some gorgeous Socks That Rock, another of my favourite sock yarns. A slightly thicker one, so I am already on to the foot, the instep decreased.

I tried knitting in public with it last night, but got some really funny looks, so as I was already quite a way out of my comfort zone gave up the attempt. There is a Working Men's Club just over the river from us, been there for all over 100 years, and struggling to survive on weekend passing trade and locals. Which we are, and via the neighbourhood Readers Group are now members and bar duty volunteers. H'mm. Not really sure about this. The people involved are great, no way a problem there. The building is grim. Or even Grimm. I don't like the beers. This needs thought....especially if I am not knitting!

The DSM is playing chess all weekend, which will leave me without the car, which makes it difficult to get to the studio. No matter, there are both projects and chores to keep me busy. The weather has just about warmed up enough for me to feel that I can more or less abandon boots and thick sweaters - in late May! - and swap to lighter gear.

Watch for snow storms........

And as there hasn't been one for ages, and I have nothing else for now - a gratuitous cat photo. (Sam.)

Sunday, May 12, 2013


We have been spending quite a bit of time in the studio. (Well, duh!......that is what we got it for!). So far, so very good. We are both being quite productive, and it is great to be able to allow the time and space to begin to focus better.

I can't say that it is easy. Oh, enjoyable, very, but I am not used to either the discipline or the luxury.

This afternoon, we went to our first members' meeting. These are held, I think, four times a year, and there is an AGM as well. The studios operate as a Limited Company, hence the requirement for an AGM and for properly designated officers. Other than that, it works as a members' co-operative, about which I am very pleased. Just like the old days........

Everyone has assigned themselves to a role, or as in my case, been - thankfully - assigned. I would have volunteered for social media duties, I can tweet with the best of them if I have to, but that was grabbed. The DSM upped for keeping the website regularly updated - I was inveigled into sharing Health and Safety duties! Actually, I am perfectly happy with that, someone has to do it, after all.

We all of course share the cleaning, quite right too. There is to be a rota.

I am not mocking. There was amusement to be had from the meeting, with talk of such, and if providing cream teas at the Open Studio event coming up, and a few other very "committee" items. But actually, there was a lot of useful, sensible stuff under discussion in a very creative and orderly way. No problems there, then.

Well, actually there were. But they are mine, all mine. I am going to have to do a lot of work on myself to become totally comfortable sitting there with all those proper "artists". Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with considering myself a more than competent spinner in the first instance, and to have a fair bit of knowledge and expertise in various other areas of the fibre arts. I am also quite comfortable regarding myself as a good teacher.

But after that it all goes a bit pear-shaped. I am not an artist. My ability to produce objets of artistic merit is limited, to say the least. Oh, it has happened. But rather more by accident than design. So to be cheek by jowl with painters and ceramicists, and silversmiths and conceptual artists and mixed media interactive installation creators is......challenging.

And that is, I suppose, the point. To be challenged. Oh, to enjoy myself, and to keep myself occupied with things a bit more exciting than dusting. But I can do that behind my own closed doors. Out there, oh, much harder, but much more...well, more.

I could just fall flat on my face. Or I might not. Finding out which, if indeed either is going to e good.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Well well

well well well........

Just where the heck did April go?

I AM still here, just not getting round to blogging. Too much stuff, mostly good.

Started off by, having moved in to the studio, buggering off for a week. But it was a pre-arranged trip to New York, so not sorry, and worth it. I will do a blog post about it, but I haven't even uploaded the photographs yet, so when I have..........

Been doing lots of other stuff, too, but bedding in to to studio has been the main thing. I do have wireless access down there, but I am trying hard not to spend time on the internet for the moment, as I don't want my addiction to get in the way of fibre stuff! So I want to get the good, solid work habit established first.

I spent a while sampling some fibres. First up was a very nice blend of Jacob and bamboo from Adelaide Walker. Not a soft fibre, but very characterful, and should be hard wearing. Socks, definitely, but I have a great pattern for a jacket that would look great in it. Unfortunately, I think that to get the look of yarn that I want, I will probably have to do a three ply.

Then I spent a little while sampling the first of the DSM's new batts for Woolfest.


This one is called "Smaug", and is gorgeously bright. I did make a request for some for me, but was told I would have to wait. Not exactly a hardship, as I have, shall we say, a more than adequate stash. Have been excavating it, and am at present spinning some rather lovely Pygora I got at SOAR a couple of years ago. It has started to compact, as that kind of fine fibre is prone to do, so I decided to save its life. It fits in to the plan for shawl(ettes) for studio activity.

As does the stuff I am spinning at home (and, yes, I do seem to have my spinning mojo back). I was given some lovely merino and silk by a friend in California last autumn, always intended to be a shawl. Going through stash sorting, I found a silk brick that I at first thought was another hank of the merino/silk, but wasn't. Just almost exactly the same colourway, amazingly.


Merino/silk on the left, silk brick on the right. One from the US, one from the UK!

So, the body will be the one, and the other will enable me to try out the idea I had for a shawl with a free form crochet edging in lieu of lace or fringe. Might be quite cool, eh?

Quite a bit coming up including a workshop down south. The DSM has prep to do for Woolfest mainly, and we have stuff on order/in transit. Should be some great Greensleeves spindles arriving soon. MIT to mention that as the weather is finally improving, there is gardening and outside work to be done!

I'll do me best!