Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Solstice Post

I love the Susan Cooper books, 'The Dark is Rising' sequence.  So why have I never come across this poem of hers before?  Well, at least I have now!

The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!

Happy Solstice, happy Yule!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A grab-bag

I don't know where time goes, these days, I really don't.  And I don't even seem to get that much done!  To be fair, we are in to what passes for the Christmas gadding season at the moment, and, confirmed introvert that I am, one social event tends to equal one day recovery time.  That's one excuse, anyway.........

I do gently chug along with all the usual fibre pursuits.  It is just that at the moment, there is nothing particularly noteworthy in the pipeline.  I did manage to finish the Guild Challenge project (although not to actually photograph it, and as I am writing this with Barni on my lap, I don't want to disturb him to go and do it now.  It is unremarkable, but somewhat to my surprise not only functional but I actually quite like it.  

The project was "something for the head";  the fibre was some less than remarkable White-faced Woodland, made even less appealing by being drum carded.  I dyed his deep burgundy, mine a bright mid-blue.  I looked at the yarn, and thought, well, what the blazes am I going to do with this.....

But I also had two lots of very nice yarn spun from blends I had been given at SOAR, one a beige plus a little glitter, the other cream.  Those two managed to salvage the project.  I decided to make a long cowl that would pull over my head when needed, and just did stripes, mostly of one row of colour with a few blocks for variety.  It worked!

I can't remember if I ever recorded the fact that the AH class has been ailing.  Lots of reasons for this, I think, and difficult for me to address.  Over the recent months, quite a few classes had been cancelled, and it was getting to be quite a problem planning the class, gathering supplies and then not being able to go ahead.  Did I skip that topic, or just move it over to the next month?  Keeping the programme, and our diary straight was becoming a bit of a logistical nightmare.  So, rightly or wrongly, in conjunction with TPTB, we decided to reduce the frequency of the class and go to one every three months.

Looks like that was the wrong decision.  December has always been a favourite one on the calendar, but numbers were way, way down, with a distinct dearth of the usual suspects.  (Although it is fair to say that the Hall was empty apart from us and in the afternoon a group of ladies in for some event and afternoon tea....such a sad and worrying state of affairs.)

Don't get me wrong, we had a good day!  Lots of productive sampling, enjoyable chat, and a good Festive lunch of the usual, with a goats cheese and cranberry tart for the veggies.  We even had a mince pie at tea time instead of the biscuits we have been reduced to!

Now next up - one week tomorrow, we are off on our travels again.  To Mexico.  Coincidently for Christmas, which will be very unusual and interesting, but mostly to meet up with dear friends from California and to explore the weaving dyeing and other traditional crafts of the Oaxaca area.  We should have internet access while we are there, so I hope I can do on the spot as well as retrospective reporting.  I have to admit to being a bit nervous about it as it is rather outside our comfort zone.  We don't speak Spanish - fortunately, our friends do!

And finally.  One other small FO.  I had designed a cowl/neck warmer/whatever on the needles, found it rather too big, and thrown it in to the washing machine to see if I could reduce the size a bit.  It also worked!  I like the basic idea, but both the design and the execution need a bit of work.  This would have had a phot on Flickr, but Flickr refused to co-operate, so .......

Next post, the Festival of the Radish, maybe......

Monday, December 02, 2013

Open Studios Weekend

This time last year, we had just applied for a studio space, and thought it would be a good idea to go down and have a look around when everyone opened up for the Christmas event.  In the summer, we were happily ensconced in our own space, but could only do one day as we were coming back from Cumbria on the Saturday.  (There are two open weekends per year.)

So this Christmas event was the first we could participate in fully.  I have to say, it was fun.  It was actually fairly quiet, but that meant that we could spend time with family and friends who dropped in, and also enjoy meeting the visitors.   We even managed to collect half a dozen names of people expressing an interest in a fibre crafts weekend that it has been suggested the four of us who are spinners and weavers (and dyers and felt makers) could organise some time next year, which was an encouraging thing!

We got the studio space looking very colourful and cosy on a rather chilly weekend, and settled in to do a lot of spinning (plus a few other bits and bobs.). Our aim in having a studio is not to make lots of stuff to sell, although I had intended to have rather more yarn available for purchase than I actually managed.  Best intentions and all that.  Will try to do better another time.

I have to be honest and say that I have not yet got to where I want to be with my use of the studio.  I recognise various reasons for this (I do not intend to go in to them all here, could make things go a bit whingey!)  I can address most of them, and will do so.  One of the beneficial side effects of this weekend was getting myself considerably refocused, so that is good.

Part of the trouble is having too much going on in other areas of my life, which us of course basically A Good Thing.  So I need either to get a bit more efficient, or not to worry about any of it!  (I think I might go in the latter direction......)

Oh, I am wittering.  Probably because it is nearly 11.30, and I should be thinking about bed.  Though that us something I do try to avoid doing - one of the impediments to efficient studio yes gas been the insomnia, which had been better recently but made an unwelcome reappearance last night.  So I tend to do something that needs doing, or I like doing or similar so at least if I am lying there all wakeful I can console myself with some small achievement!