Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ruby Tuesday

As in not Black Tuesday. A Tuesday of an exciting colour - in a good way. A firework sort of day, maybe.

So, first. Over the last many years, I have been involved in moving first my grandmother and then my parents out of their homes in to sheltered accommodation. It 's a horrible process. I don't think I shall ever forget having to shovel so many of my mother's "treasures" in to black plastic sacks and take them to the tip. Things she loved, but not even the charity shops wanted them. The experiences made me vow that, although it was pretty much inevitable that we should at some point have to downsize, we were going to attempt to have as much control over the process as possible.

As soon as we were in a position to do it, we began looking for preferably an apartment, or maybe a small house, in this area that we could seamlessly move in to when the time was right. Which I devoutly hope will not be for several years as I still have a lot of stash to use up. We had an ideal location in mind, but we were aware that we were unlikely to succeed. The aim was to get close to this ideal, this to include a little space where we could feel the air and the sun on our ageing faces, like a little patio or a balcony. And if the gods were willing to be indulgent, close to water.

Yesterday - Tuesday - we had an offer accepted on the most delightful apartment, with a balcony, right on the canal! If it were not so tiny, I might even move in straight away! But as it is, I will need the next dozen or so years to accomplish the destashing. But meanwhile, it will be rented, but there for us when we need it.

Much more immediate, and so much less prudent........yesterday also saw us being offered - ta da! - wait for it........A STUDIO!! We couldn't be more excited, and also, at least in my case, feeling the scary. We both of us feel that we neither of us do as much fibre craft practice as we could simply working at home. I don't get the writing done that I would like. We both have new craft areas that we want to explore. By indulging ourselves a very little bit, we can have this fabulous space, well large enough for both of us, and give ourselves a real chance to develop.

There are a few places such as this around this area. They are great, supportive communities, often, as in this case, co- operatives, which suits us very well. Our space is large (by our standards), airy, with a lovely big window. I am struggling with myself not to fantasise too much about living the life of the artist in her garret (ha!) and concentrating on coming up with a plan for how to start out and where I might proceed. Oh, and not to forget that I shall be sharing the space with the DSM, although we won't actually intend in the long term to necessarily work there together too often.

So there you go. Two diametrically opposed, if you will, developments. Don't ever think that life has to be dull, or can't hold surprises.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Yesterday was a gorgeous day, so we went out into the woods and I took a lot of photos.

I don't think that I need say much more, really.










Monday, January 21, 2013

Real snow - and pre-drafting


Lovely, innit! As long as I don't have to hew wood and bring it in, or carry water from the well, I always enjoy snow.

It energises me, just as sunshine does. I have had a burst of finishing off yarns.

Bonkers merino/silk

First of all, some Bonkers merino and silk. I think this was 80/20%, but I could be wrong. It spun up into a nice bouncy yarn, the silk giving the merino a nicer handle rather than sheen, and it should be good and warm. I think a cowl.

Red merino/silk

This was more like a 50/50% merino and silk. Luscious to touch and to look at, somewhat problematic to spin. I am not going to name the vendor. It came from a well known and well respected source, and I will use them again. Some of the problem could come from it having been in my stash for a while. But some of it comes from the dyeing process. When you have a prep that is different concentrations of one colour, in my experience it is not completely unknown for there to be a degree of compaction or "stickiness".

I have yet to manage to spin one of these preps without having problems drafting and the resulting consistency of the yarn. I am definitely not a devotee of routinely predrafting top or roving, as I think that leads to the aforementioned; but in this sort of case, if you don't and draft as you spin, the problem is often even worse and you get sore hands to boot!

So, I predrafted very carefully, with gentle, short hand movements, and that did help enormously. I have some thinner stretches, which I attempted to improve by breaking off the fibre supply and rejoins; and fewer slugs where the " sticky" fibre was still harder to draft. But on the whole, I am pretty pleased with this.

My general opinion remains the same though - don't routinely predrafted!

Merino/silk shawl

Then just as I was finishing off tying up the skeins, I remembered that I had spun the very same prep from the same supplier before, in a different colourway. And this, believe it or not, is a rich grass green! On my iPad at least it is showing up more or less grey.

This had, I now remember, similar problems, only I didn't consider it sufficient for predrafting. The yarn was in the end much more inconsistent. But none the less, it knitted up into a really nice shawl, and I am sure that the red will too.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The restful life of the retiree.


There has been much gadding. (Next door village to Little Gidding?)

Nice trip to London, one of our culture-vulture bursts. We just snuck in to the last day of the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at the Tate, which was wonderful! Seven, I think, rooms bursting with fabulous paintings. Such an embarrassment of riches that both back and brain gave up the ghost for the final two rooms, but I was able to find somewhere to sit and let myself gaze around enough to get something out of it. Yes, wussy, I know, but it was a BIG show. I have always loved the PRB, in fact many years ago when I worked for a short spell in Westminster, I often used to go to the Tate in my lunch hour and see them then. Either them or the the Rothkos -always did have eclectic tastes!

What else? Well, we were supposed to be going to Kiss Me Kate, I was really looking forward to it. But when we arrived at the theatre, it was to hear that the show had been cancelled. From the sound of it (and this is pure speculation) they had noro going through the cast, so, total sympathy there then! Ah, well.....

We did get to a magical piano recital at the Wigmore Hall. Beethoven sonatas, Schubert and Schumann. Strangely, we had never been there before, and it was an interesting and enjoyable, in an extremely British way, experience. It had been an absolute age since we had been to a classical music event other than opera - far too long. This was lovely, and we need to do more of it.

On our last day, we really packed things in. Took the long bus ride out to The Handweavers Studio, a treat we had long been promising ourselves. We used to go quite often in the previous incarnations of it and us, and there are changes, but certainly not in a bad way, although I did miss the shelves full of fleece.

I didn't actually buy any fibre as we had been to World of Wool last week (did I mention that......?). But I did get some yarns. My tapestry loom, a Mirrix, has been looking at me reproachfully for ...... a very long time. I hadn't wanted to mail order colours, prefer to use my eyes for real. Got a nice range. Now we just have to wait and see how much longer it actually takes for me to get a round tuit......

They package things well there, and I also fell for a pretty pack of rainbow spectrum threads that are intended for braiding. Same caveat. Plus a Wildcraft spindle and Jacey Boggs' book. She is a brilliant teacher, and writes just as well. A gem.

The bus back went all the way to Trafalgar Square, and it seemed sensible - as it was snowing and cold - to stay on it and go to the National Gallery for lunch and a bit of a browse. We chose the Dutch Scenes from Everyday Life area, a remarkably good choice. Very restful and satisfying.

And our final bit of culture was David Hare's play the Judas Kiss, with Rupert Everett and Freddie Fox. Yes, a Fox! There's a lot of them about. It was excellent, so glad we went.

Home Tuesday, day of rest Wednesday, and then another action-packed day yesterday, with friends here for lunch before going to the Bankfield for an exhibition of by Hillu Liebelt. Wonderful. I did take some photos, but I haven't uploaded them yet, too cold in the room where the pc is! So hopefully, more later! (No photos of the London trip as the weather was so foul.)

And that wasn't all - folk gig at the Trades' in the evening. So what with all that, and the very cold weather, I declared today something of a duvet day. This blog post is the most energetic thing I have done so far, apart from conferring with the DSM about the next round of travels.

Ah, well, keeps me out of mischief.