Wednesday, 30 November 2011

What a difference a floor makes!

Just for those poor friends who were subjected to me rabbiting non-stop on Saturday here is a pic of the new floor...............

For those who were spared my verbal ramblings - a new floor might not seem that special, except I have been waiting five years for this - not that I am moaning! I quite liked the row of bricks that divided the new from the old - Molly's paw prints, and Jim the Builder's boot mark - were just a few of the things that made the old floor unique.

But the time had come to cover up and level up the floor - simples - huh! Everything cupboard had to be emptied - that meant all my wool, spinning wheels, fibre, fabric and of course the crockery and - well everything had to be packed into boxes - and me packed off to spend the week in the caravan with just Molly for company - hence the non-stop talking Saturday - a week of Radio 4 and the ATP Masters is'nt all its cracked up to be.

I had thought lovely no-one to nag me or ask when are you getting to the end of that row - but there was no one to talk to - Molly fails miserably as a conversationalist! Plus it is difficult to remember all the things that you would have said at the time, so although Mr S came every evening, it just wasn't the same.

Was it all worth it? Yes, Yes and yes - the room looks huge much bigger than before - perhaps it is because the floor is now all one colour - woven bamboo to be precise - and absolutely stunning

Now, of course, all that was packed away has to be unpacked - joy of joys - and because we sorted out the things that had been at the back of the cupboards unused for five years there is more room.....................empty spaces which I am sure that I won't have any trouble at all filling!

Monday, 14 November 2011

What do you do when you're not spinning?

At the Spindyeweaver's meeting on Saturday conversation got round to what books do your read. It got me considering, especially when most of the authors I trotted out were unknown to some. Books and reading them have played an important part in my life - I learnt to read before I went to school, my grandfather would read to me (Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Coral Island, Phoenix and the Carpet - the Victorian novels he had read as a boy) and before long I was reading along with him and then without him, jumping forward to find out what happen next. My early reading was influence by my Victorian grandparents, and an English teacher through whom I explored genre of ripping tales for boys - the names of the authors are long gone from my memory but the heroic escapades live on - flying over the Amazonian Forests to find lost tribes of cannibals - beating a path through tropical undergrowth to find the source of a river - all were exciting and not supposed to read by little girls who should have playing with their dolls.

I got my love of history from the Jean Plaidy books centred around the Queens of England, I experienced the Regency period through Goergette Heyer and the Industrial Revolution through Alexander Cordell's "Mortymer Trilogy" especially Rape of the Fair Country, and the horrors of working class survival by Catherine Cookson. The wars with the French I experienced with Hornblower (another of Gramps favourites) and Jack Aubry - I have the complete series... I discovered the universe and for several months read nothing but books on astronomy, and my knowledge of the solar system saved the day when school inspectors arrived unannounced, and I gave a lecture quoting verbatim large chunks gleaned from my recent obsession. I have even read Lord of the Rings - didn't like it but I stuck with it to the bitter end - and that is one of the few books I have gladly given away........

As you can see I read voraciously, Mr S says that I devour books, and I have eclectic tastes. Our many bookcases (we have ten at the moment all full to overflowing) stand testament to the reading habit, which I am happy to say he shares. There have been men in my life that haven't been readers - they didn't last long!!

Obviously for my degree and research I read academic historical tomes, but for leisure? Books on spinning, dyeing, weaving, knitting, jewellery making, polymer clay, beading, wood turning, cooking - the list goes on - if I've tried it I have a book on the subject. Current authors on the must read list are:

Sussana Gregory - her Matthew Bartholomew series set in post plaque England, Robert Goddard (intrique and murder always with a twist), Ann Granger (murder in the Cotswolds), Rebecca Shaw, sometimes too good to be true, but easy when the brain needs a rest, Anne Perry(Victorian murder mystery), Kate Sedley (murder solving chapman from Medieval Bristol), Jean Auel (the life of a Cro-Magnon women). PD James, Ruth Rendell, Candice Robb (Medieval York), Michael Jecks (Medieval Devon) , Michael Tremayne (800th century Ireland), Sarah Dunnant (Renaissance Italy) to just name a few - the latest find Kate Ellis and her crime stories with an archaeological twist in Tradmouth (Dartmouth)

Check Spelling
Why, well I have to pack and move my extensive library because next Monday we are putting down a new bamboo floor in the big sitting room, the room has to empty.......... this means that I am currently sat, just, at my computer in a room stuffed to the ceiling with boxes of fibre, yarn, fabric and books. My sewing machine, spinning wheels, looms and all the paraphernalia connected with my many and diverse hobbies have to be packed away

Self preservation being high on my list of priorities I am going to stay on a friend's farm in the caravan for a week - this means that I get to spin, knit and read while chaos reigns in 'chez sassy'............... Well I'd get in the way spread dust with my wheels and generally get in the way wouldn't I? That's my story and I am sticking to it..................

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Eleven Shawls all done

Last week I finished the last of my eleven shawls for the 11 Shawls in 2011 challenge on Ravelry and I still have four more on the needles, two are snoozing and two are knit-alongs so are work in progress...............

I find there is a certain fascination in the making of shawls - there is the challenge to interupt the symbols and to keep the right number of stitches, and I just love the way the patterns reveal themselves from a series of hyroglifics seemingly meaningless into a regular pattern that has a certain rhythm. They come in all shapes and sizes, circles, squares and triangles, big ones, medium and small, then there is the question what constitutes a shawl - is it something that you wear over the shoulders? Some designs are lttle more that neck warmers, I prefer my shawls large and lacey with lots of fancy stitches to keep you on your toes.

I even had a go at designing - it isn't easy - but I did get Anna Dalvi's book Shaping Shawls which explains the ins and outs of shawl design, so perhaps next year for 12 shawls in 2012 I will make some of my own designs................who knows I might get put a pattern on Ravelry one day and have my own KAL (knitalong) - now that is a real challenge

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Beyond Believe

Finally got the new car - but the garage registered and taxed it on 27th October after I expressly told them that I didn't want it done until November 1st. I got to pick it up yesterday November 2nd - which means that I have paid road tax for a whole month during which I never even owned the car!!!!!!!!!!!!!! New cars are supposed to be enjoyed and I don't even want to drive it - would you believe that the Manager offered me a very small box of chocs in way of compensation - needless to say I got more than a measley box of chocs, but money can't make up for all the problems - Wessex Garages are the pits............. avoid them at all costs, and it will cost me every year - for my contract ends a month after the road tax is due - can't wait to give Motability my feedback.............

This put a damper on what had been a lovely weekend during which we went to the SaFire Festival in Sleaford - absolutely amazing - fire, drama and lights of every description together with a variety of scenarios in mime - such as Alice in Wonderland, Punch and Judy, a couple on a beach and Sleaford;s very own Boat Race, but the creme de la creme was in the church, a story told in conjunction with an aerial dance - fantastic.

It all ended with a fireworks display during which I got to experiment with the firework setting on my camera

Sleaford is the home of the National Centre for Craft and Design where the is a lovely cafe that used to sell gluten free cakes - sadly no longer - but they do make extremely good hot chocolate, which considering I don't like chocolates the sweet, I did enjoy. We also took in the exhibition by Gabiel Dawe - Plexus No. 10. I really can't describe how beantiful it was - the colours were breathtaking and you were completely entranced by the effect which filled the very large gallery completely - apparently it took 12 days to prepare and worth every minute....

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