Tuesday, 28 December 2010
Now I have to choose the pattern - choices, choices there are so many lovely shawl patterns to choose from - I really can't make up my mind! But I think that it is going to be the Calais Shawl so all I have to do now is wait for the yarn to dry! Meanwhile I have been playing origami with fabric - great fun!
And this is oddly named Lincoln's Platform
Friday, 24 December 2010
Thirteen years ago Mr S and I gave up on Christmas, after years of providing exactly the day described we said enough - we certainly weren't enjoying ourselves, and I'm not at all sure that the family (parents, in-laws etc) were really enjoying themselves either. So after years of wearing ourselves to a frazzle - shopping, cooking, calming frayed nerves and soothing over supposed insults - we quit and we have never regretted our decision.
We usually spend the day walking, preferably by the sea, or sitting quietly reading or crafting. Food is something simple and undemanding in the kitchen department with the only concession being a really good bottle (or two) of wine. Most years we have done this in our caravan far away from the maddening crowd, but it is increasingly harder to find that quiet spot as more and more people it seems are also getting away. One bright spot on today's horizon is that in less than 38 hours it will all be over for another year - if only it was just one day and not three months of hype.
This year we have heeded to the mantra 'is your journey really necessary' and stayed at home which will give us even more time for crafting - joy!
My first quilting project - following the instructions by Jenny at the Missouri Star Quilting Co
My Romney Shawl - from fleece to shawl - very satisfying!
Another Piped Hobo Bag, but this one is still looking for a handle
This is the first bobbin of 100 grams of Victorian Velvet - it is going to make the most gorgeous shawl
Scrap Bag - literally made from scraps!
And finally my Secret Santa Raffle Prize (thanks Anji)
Thursday, 16 December 2010
It's like the greengrocer's apostrophe which drives me mad - I just long to have a red marker pen and change all those silly '''''. Try reading Lynne Truss' book Eats shoots and leaves it is hilarious and I just love it, if you want a chuckle then it is a good book to dip into. I suppose that most families have private jokes and names for places. When I was small my grandfather used to confuse me with the way he would pronounce place names - Barnstaple was one, he just placed the emphasis on different syllables - doesn't seem funny when you write it, but I was completely sold on his way of saying it and couldn't understand why people laughed.
One such place name has developed because of a road sign written thus:
Commence here...........and so on.
Obviously the place Downend Major was undergoing road works - or was it? The best road sign, apart from the obvious Heavy Plant Crossing (is that an aspidistra?) was in a cul de sac:
Drive Slowly over Children Playing
I assume that there was a word missing - humps perhaps?
Monday, 6 December 2010
I am not sure whether I really suffer from SAD, (Mr S says I suffer from him!!) but I certainly find it very hard to get going, and I feel out of sorts, not really depressed but not right. No motivation and a feeling of lethargy. What I would really like is to hibernate, wrapped up in a cosy nest somewhere until the clocks go forward.
That's another thing to rant about, why do we have change the clocks, mucks up my internal clock twice a year and makes not a lot of difference - well I suppose it might in the very north of Scotland, so let them change their clocks and leave us alone. I have spent time in France where they are on the proper time and I didn't see that it made much difference - nobody went on about it being terrible for children to go to school in the dark!!
Enough - think positive - I did finish all my November projects - socks, Shawl and bags - all done! Now I am just crafting for fun not becasue I have to get something finished by a certain date and this has certainly improved my mood (so Mr S says anyway) and I am feeling more relaxed and have started writing a chapter for my progression at the end of March.
Next week I have a meeting with my three supervisors to agree my aims - so that's a real positive.
But the biggest rant of all is over the proposed lifting of cap on student fees - I am so furious that I have written to my MP - never felt the urge before, but I am livid. I am not saying that further education should be totally free, but what about those who went to university in the 1980s and 90s on a grant - why don't they get asked to pay back? Well of course they are the people that vote, so the government can't upset them - or can they? If a university education means that you earn more then those people (Cameron, Clegg and Milliband and the like) should be paying now -that's what I feel and I make no apology - but enough of politics........
Tonight I am hoping to get a flyer so Mr S can make me an e-spinner - more of that later.....
Friday, 19 November 2010
This is his first exhibition layout and is due to have its first public viewing at the end of January - yes he claims it will be finished by then - but he still has houses to make and a couple of dozen trees - that's where I come in - trees. Out of florist wire, tape and modelling clay - just don't ask - at least not for the next few weeks at least. Although I might actually take a series of pics and post them here when things have slowed down at bit.
The trees aside, I have been doing a lot of preparation for my soon to be arranged meeting with my new supervisor (just seem to have got out of the habit of writing, at least academically), I have a paper and personal statement to write for a new VCH webpage, a TV reseacher wanting details about silk mills, three bags, a pair of socks, a shawl all due to be finished all by the end of this month.....
Yesterday afternoon I took a few hours off and went for a play on a very expensive sewing machine - serious money - and it doesn't even make the tea!! It was great fun, although I can't see that I'd ever use all the stitches - but I did make a very nice book cover and then went and left my bag at the shop, so this afternoon when I could have getting on with things I have to drive over and get it back.
And I just bought another spinning wheel - unseen, but working and was made in Whitchurch by a one armed man apparently!!
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
The Bling Bag at the front is my favourite at the moment - the fabris is Oodles of Doodles and I managed to get all three designs, so I see a theme emerging.......
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
Sunday the house was full of dripping rovings and Mr S complained that he couldn't get in the shower!
Monday, after reading on Marjie' Dye Studio blog that is it possible to dye wool with old Procion MX as if a acid dye - to have a go dyeing some Falkland. This was due in some part to inadvertantly buying the wrong dye some time ago. I didn't get good results so I am not sure what she did I didn't but there certainly wasn't any vibrant colours from my dyeing - dull, dull, dull and green exhaust!!! But there sure was when I tried the same dye stuff with silk
Don't you just love my loo seat - not real cat paws honest..
25grams of white tussah silk, soak for 45 mins in one gram of Kemtex Procion MX Dark Brown - then fixed with 20grams of salt and 5 grams of washing soda.
Then I did the same with some turquoise dye and got the same fantastic result..
Yesterday I dye 200 grams of Superwash Merino and added it to the pile....
and today some BFL - Bitter Chocolate, it isn't dry yet but I am 'right chuffed'- it is just what I pictured - that dark dark bitter chocolate that you get in France - the proper stuff that isn't sweet and doesn't stick to the top of your mouth - uck!
Ok I'm crazy, I don't like chocolate, well certainly not the stuff that is sold in the UK, and I'm not that keen on sweets either I'd much rather have a really sour apple or best of all I love sucking lemons - it is just making my mouth water just thinking about the taste - yum..
Just wondering when on earth I am going to find the time to spin all this - night shifts perhaps?
Thursday, 21 October 2010
Thursday, 14 October 2010
Which I really like and K hates, in fact this was destined for the bin until I intervened - OK it has felted quite a bit, which is really disappointing, but there is a lot of good fibre which will be great for a warp thread (probably a cushion cover) - so what was one person's failure was another's gain.
Lesson - one - possibly Exmoor Blueface is best not kettle dyed - two - that for 150grams of fibre in 3 litres of water with 40grams of citric acid and 40 grams of salt will set the dye - three - there was no exhaust (the topic of many a rant on this blog) which is good, but no control, had this been hand-painted then we might have got some of the autumnal hues hoped for and less felted fibre.
Saturday, 9 October 2010
But even he has now taken on board some of the new words that have crept into the language over the years. The verb to 'google' being one such example - he got a round of applause for that one! But that is by the by - Thursday we took E shopping for her birthday - on these occasions she refers to me as Auntie Gok - yet another word that needs no explanation - and we did have fun, she and Mr S were foot weary at the end of the day - can't say I found it that hard, but as they said I had been sat down all day.....
Bought her a super bright pink gilet, which I am so envious about that I think I shall have to get one for myself - especially as my wardrobe is looking decidely empty since the grand clear out last weekend. The British Heart Foundation Shop benefited by four large bags and I now have quite a lot of empty hangers just waiting to be filled - (plus some drawer space which I immediately filled with patchwork and bag material) well I have dropped 4 dress sizes since last September and my stress starvation diet......
Here's this weeks spinning - Remember, Remember - 100 grans of super soft Falkland spaced dyed with red, yellow, blue and black - 345 metres. Mr S is hoping for a pair of socks from this - time permitting....
Wednesday, 29 September 2010
Because of the problems I have encounter finding a new Director for my doctorate I have had to asked for extenuating circs and am deferring until January - so hopefully by then everything will sorted out and I might have actually caught up with my spinning and dyeing - a vain hope but I can at least try...
Saturday I had a red day - dyeing 400 grams of Falkland - some with Kool-Aid (an American kid's drink which requires copious amounts of sugar to make it palatable) which dyed my fingers and nails as well as the fibre, the rest with Landscape dyes, all reds....... In the evening we had supper with friends we hadn't seen for nearly a year - so truly a red letter day...
From left to right, Red Letter Day, Jam Today, and Fruit Salad.
Currently I am spinning a roving of Winter Crocus a falkland fibre dyed with Moss, Coral and Sarsparilla. I have three projects on the knitting needles a second sock, baby bootees and my beaded shawl, although in my defence I am waiting for a delivery of beads so that I can finish this, and I have three bags in the making - all in patchwork, and the makings for several more.
Tuesday I spent the morning dyeing!!! Some time ago a friend gave me some Ammonuim Sulphate crystals which are supposed to help the absorbtion of dye. As I find that Jacquard and Kemtex dyes leave great quantitles of exhaust I thought I would experiment. Same amount of dye, but Kemtex and Jacquard with the crystals against Landscape without crystals, both presoaked in Citric Acid, Calgon and a squidge of Washing Up Liguid (my usual) - no exhaust with the Landscape dyes. First the lime green and bight blue (second from right) the dye came out staining both my hands and the sink, the other (first left) I mixed the dyes one eighth of a teaspoon each of Teal, Black, Jade , Turquoise and Navy mixed with equal amounts of Ammonium sulphate and Citric Acid, wrapped and cooked for a total of 10 mins left less exhaust but still some.
Still I am pleased with the results, particularly the navy and turquoise (far right) which is for another beaded shawl......................time permitting....
Tuesday, 21 September 2010
Several hours later - after trying nearly everything we could think of - eureka - I found that I can save a Word document as a PDF - sorted. We managed to print, with the margins in the right places and with a day to space - deep breath.
I know it is crazy, but I really feel as if I have got one over my PC - as if!
Friday, 3 September 2010
Wednesday, 25 August 2010
Thursday, 19 August 2010
Monday, 16 August 2010
I am certainly constrained by my past - for example blue and green should never be seen unless there's beauty in between - that mantra was drummed into me as a child, and I have no idea why other than it was a kind way of telling that I wasn't pretty. Blues and greens look great together and certainly now no-one would care a jot about putting blue and green together. Brown shoes with black trousers - that was another no-no!
Certain colours and smells bring memories of their own. For example I have never liked the scent of hyacinths since the death of my mother-in-law - there was one in a pot that some one had brought in for her and the scent will forever take me back to the day she died. Then lilies of the valley remind me of my grandmother's garden as does the deep purple/red of the loganberries that grew by the side of her path. I can still taste the sweet tartness of illicit fruit but the memory is tempered with the telling off I received when caught literally 'red-handed'.
So what inspires? I generally like to take inspiration from nature. Seldom does nature get it wrong, but not always do the colours transfer to fibre and yarn. I was particularly taken with the purple and lime green of a Euphorbia portlandica 'Dolce Vita' “Portland Spurge” in my garden - it was spectacular earlier this summer - and when I put the colours together in a roving it still looked great, but when spun it was a different story and the yarn turned out muddy.
Recently I have been taking inspiration from the diverse range of Landscape dyes. Using colours that I wouldn't have used before - coral for example is a colour that does me no favours at all - put coral next to my skin and I look washed out and peach drains me completely. I remember saving up to buy a lovely peach jacket that I had coveted only to find that I look a fright - fortunately I was able to take it back for a refund. So I have avoided peach and coral until the other weekend when at the SDW July meeeting I used up some of the dyes that were left. Who would have thought that purple, coral and moss would look so good together?
Bright colours have always attracted me. I once had my colours done and apparently I am a spring person - so bright/new colours suit me. But pastels can be so pretty and subtle - I must learn that you don't have to be 'in your face' all the time. Hence I have tried to be calmer (now that's a joke - anyone who knows me will know by know that calm and serene I am not) - with my dyeing and so far I am quite please with the results.
But then in the gardening section of Saturday's Telegraph there was this most stunning hyacinth (no smell) Midnight Mystique - a really dark purple black........... hum can I resist?
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
I could not for the life of me understand why the yarn kept breaking and why it was so hard to treadle - simple - adjust the tension and away you go! Thanks guys I couldn't have done it without your help
Why is there a bulge one end - I forgot the thread through both rings totally negating the reason for the flyer - double dumbo!
Monday, 9 August 2010
Bags, I just adore bags - knitted bags, crochet bags, cloth bags, felted bags, big bags, small bags - bags for knitting or just a bag it doesn't matter. It is also quite daft as I don't carry a bag! I have a small pouch slung under my wheelchair and a bag that hangs on the back and that's it. So why the desire for bags - probably it is because I can't carry one that I want one. Currently I have a collection of seven plus three in the pipeline and two queued.
This is the felted Seaside Bag made with the yarn I spun for the Tour de Fleece Challenge - it is just waiting for the handles which will be felted i-cords twisted for strength. There is enough yarn left over to make the Entrelac Ensemble Felted Bag and if there isn't I can always dye and spin some more!!!
Then at the Spinning Weal last Monday I purchased a cloth kit for a Tote Bag to make up for the lovely bag Mr S wouldn't agree to my purchasing in the shop at Ely Cathedral. (Well it was quite expensive, but beautiful) I am going to embellish the front with wadding and beads - the purchase of the wadding will require a vist to the Spinning Weal - joy!
Today I found the most perfect bag and I want to make it now - but it is out of stock at both the UK suppliers - do I wait or order from the USA? Logic tells me to wait, but there is nothing logical about my passion for bags.
Then there are shawls - I can wear shawls so there is some logic here, but how many? I checked out my pattern file and most are for shawls!! Plus I just got my Posh August Cashmere Club yarn - 2ply Sophia - and now I am in a quandary over which shawl I should knit with this gorgeously soft yarn.
The August KAL forthe Beginning Lace Knitters Group on Ravelry is Aeolian Shawl by Elizabeth Freeman and I am going to make it with my White Romney and pearl beads. I have had this one in my queue for over a year.
But I kept putting it off as it a charted pattern only and I have had problems with reading charts - so I intend to write the pattern up as I go along - challenging and like I said there just aren't enough hours in the day so I guess the housework will have to go!
Thursday, 5 August 2010
This colourway is Tomfoolery
It is a superwash Merino Sock Yarn, dyed in three colours, Raspberry, Navy and Orange. But I am not sure whether this really does the yarn justice. So I reskeined the yarn and now it looks like this....
Really not sure which (or should I use both pics?) is best.......... Mr S likes it as dyed and I am not so sure - reskeined there is some indication of how the colours will knit - so hence the quandary
Comments would be really welcome as obviously it takes time to reskein. I am tempted to try Autumn Crocus - but it's a no going back situation and I only have the one opportunity.
Monday, 2 August 2010
Here's some I dyed at the weekend at the birthday bash of the Spindyeweavers
Wednesday, 28 July 2010
I digress, yesterday we visited Ashby de la Zouche castle - home of Lord Hastings (friend of Richard III) and the Bosworth Heritage Centre - a trip back to the 15th century a period which I have studied in depth. The castle was lovely but the audio was terrible (we gave up listening) and Bosworth was interesting - but why oh why do these places have to dumb-down history? (As avid people watchers it was obvious that the target audience missed the points that were being made directly to them) So why can't these places also provide information in a more educated way, one that expects more than a reading age of the average 'The Sun' reader, because basically Sun readers don't go to this sort of place anyway.
Monday, 26 July 2010
Forgot how soothing spinning on a drop spindle can be - so I have been spinning in the car and caravan. Also surprised how nice and even the yarn is (was going to post a pic but realised that I can't download a pic from the camera and be online at the same time) so here is one I took earlier
Thursday, 22 July 2010
Over the rest day (Wednesday) I carded nearly 200 grams of Romney Fleece and today I spun some of it up. Lovely fibre to spin and the rovings and yarn has the most gorgeous sheen that doesn't show in the picture.
Looking forward to Sunday most, as it is a real girls only day with some tennis thrown in. We all met through playing wheelchair tennis and have played together and against each other many times over the years, but for this day no competition just gossip and a lot of reminiscing. In the evening we may even get a little maudlin over a glass or two of vino (Guess who isn't driving back to the caravan?)
Plus I get to pick my new wheels.......................
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
After this success I did the same with some Falkland in reds and pinks and plied it with white - Blueberry Ripple
And then just to continue the icecream theme I spun up some carded white Falkland and pink silk and got Strawberry Ice
Sunday, 18 July 2010
On Friday I heard of the safe delivery of a friend's baby - a girl so I need to get knitting - fast. Found the most delightful and chic pattern on Ravelry called Peach Blossom Jacket so I dyed up some Merino and Bamboo (see pic above)in a deep pink - not for me the boring baby pinks (I hope that Linda feels the same way!) also going to add a little pair of shoes and a beret - ready for autumn. All I need now is some drying weather.
Off now to label up my samples and get ready for a afternoon of spinning - just hope that the riders in the Tour decide it is time to start racing....,, although I'm pretty sure that Mark C put two fingers up at the commissars yesterday as he won the sprint for second place!
Friday, 16 July 2010
The first warp was far too ambitious for a first project - demanding 300 threads! I quickly realised that I was never going to get this on the loom and rewound the yarn. Try two ended the same way, in try three I realised that I was supposed to go the same way round the end post and not alternated with the raddle cross (this will only make sense to a weaver) - attempt four finally made it to the loom. Had I waited for Deborah Chandler's excellent book Learning to Weave to arrive I might have saved myself a lot of grief. Each chapter is a lesson and explains carefully how to and what pitfalls there are - sense at last.
Meanwhile the Tour de Fleece challenge is going well by yesterday's stage 12 I have spun 500grams and watch many hours of the actual race. MC won again yesterday although there was a bit of a 'coming together of riders' and Mark Renshaw MC's lead-out man has been disqualified for head butting - who said cycling is a gentle form of exercise?