Monday, 30 March 2009

Lawn and Border

Spent Sunday afternoon trying to tame the sprawling border where I foolishly planted a tiny bamboo plant 18 months ago. My advice? Do not plant bamboo unless you want to spend many unhappy hours digging it out from under your path, lawn, pond edging, under all your shrubs etc etc. That stuff is rampant!! It has undermined some of my favourite shrubs and one of my lovely penstemons just fell clean over when I pulled at a bit of bamboo root. It had obviously burrowed its way underneath, strangling the roots of the penstemon until it couldn't survive : ((

Okay, so I had the best upper body and thigh workout I've had in ages as I hauled on the deepest, horriblest roots, but I only cleared a tiny area and there's still loads to go : (
- where's Charlie Dimmock when you need her????

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Fibre and sock club piccies - Springtime is here!

In all the excitement I nearly forgot to post pics of this month's clubs, so here they are!

This month's themed colourway was Springtime (no prizes for guessing the inspiration for this one!).

Sock medley clubbers were treated to a multi-layered colour blend on a base of merino/nylon superwash. (I got the urge to add something about drizzled with a lemon coulis then for some reason - note to self: Must stop watching Masterchef re-runs whilst writing blog...)


Anyway, enough of cookery, back to the important stuff. Rovers received a Falkland Isles handpainted roving in daffodil lemons, bluebell and fresh spring greens (man, it's food again - will go and cook something after this)

Last but definitely not least, our Fibre Adventurers received a scrummy parcel of Falkland Isles roving, British Romney lamb's fleece (1st shearing), and some sheeny, shiny bamboo roving. It was fun using the two different dyeing methods for the animal and plant fibres and co-ordinating the colours, even if it means two separate dye sessions. I think it was worth it!

So excited!!!!!

If it's been a bit quiet the last few days it's because I had a surprise request last week, totally out of the blue, but totally amazing. I was invited by a publisher to pitch for a new book! Wheeeee! I had lots of work to do writing the precis as the deadline was very tight, so I've been burning the midnight oil and typing away into the wee small hours for the last couple of days. Anyway, it's now been sent off so I'm just hoping, with fingers and toes crossed, that they like it....

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Fiber Baristas - Fiber Club!


Hot on the heels (sorry!), of the Postcards from Home sock club, comes the Fiber Baristas Flora & Fauna Fiber Club. Registrations open soon, so keep tuned!

Happy Mother's Day


To all you Mums, Mothers, Moms, Mas, Mummys, Mommies, Grans, Nanas, Nans, Grannies, Grandmas, Grandmothers, Grammys, Great and Great-greats too, Happy Mothers Day!

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Knitty Noras talk Naked Knitting on TV!

Check out Lisa, Bev and Jan (Bolton's very own Naked Knitters), on Channel M, discussing the Naked Knitting 2010 Calendar. Watch them on YouTube here (they have clothes on, btw, in case you were wondering) and pass it on! If you haven't already, sign up to their blog. And add it to your Facebook/Myspace/ etc etc too.....

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Clubs are on the way!

Well, the title says it all, really - the club yarns and fibres went in the post today so look out for your parcel/s dropping through your letterbox soon! No pics yet, but once everyone has their goodies I'll put up a piccie or two. And no, I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't spun up the last two months' fibres yet as I have barely had a minute to spare. Why is spinning the luxury that's always last on my list? - sigh...

Monday, 16 March 2009

Things that make you go hmmm....

This was my igoogle quote for the day today from Thomas H Huxley...

"Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man's training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly."

As I was igoogling when I should have been writing a blog post I thought it was pretty funny! Since I have a to-do list that is making me wince even to look at it, I shall print this out and stick it on the tv (just in case I'm tempted to get distracted by some quality viewing like Murder She Wrote or Diagnosis Murder tomorrow - boy, I am easily distracted!).

Friday, 13 March 2009

Sausage-pony

"A pony with short legs and a long body has caused numerous people to call the emergency services in the mistaken belief she is stuck in the mud".

This was on the BBC news last night and it was so cute I thought I'd share it.

Workshop tomorrow

Today was workshop preparation day. I'm teaching Kool Aid and Procion dyeing tomorrow and it's fully booked so promises to be a busy day. Just have to decide now whether I've still got enough energy to dye my hair tonight.....

Thursday, 12 March 2009

March clubs and new fibre

Busy day, today, dyeing up yarn and fibre for this month's sock and fibre clubs. The studio started off all lovely and tidy (I can't work in a mess, no sirree). Now it's like an explosion in a paint factory! There is coloured fibre and yarn everywhere and I even squeezed in a little time to play with some possible colourways for the next couple of months, too.

Meanwhile, I've been on the trail for more exciting fibres and have some beauties in store. I spun a sample of the loveliest roving I think I have ever felt today. It ticked all my boxes, finer than fine, fabulous sheen, dyes like a dream and gorgeous to spin with. I have an order on the way, so look out for it soon!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Things I learned today....

One: Multi-tasking is not always a useful thing (if you doubt this, see below)

Two: Don't wash more fleece than you have time/energy/space to wash, rinse and dry. By 3pm I had several grungy buckets full of fleece, nowhere to dry it, but worse, no energy to rinse it!

Three: Don't start a mega-dyeing session shortly before your son's GCSE options meeting if you don't want to look like a toddler after a playgroup painting session!

Four: (and I can't believe I did this one!). Don't put your fleece in the microwave when it's still full of soap (unless you want a lovely pile of pretty-coloured felt!).

I think I need a cup of tea and a sit down..... file me under "n" for numpty.....

Monday, 9 March 2009

Busy day dyeing and sampling

As a reward for all my fleece-washing efforts, I treated myself to a day's dye-sampling today. I have been working on some new techniques for applying colour, and I have some delicious new yarns to try out, as well as some sock blanks, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to put the two together and see what happens!

I've only just got everything rinsed so it will have to be pics tomorrow as I've been on my feet most of the day and I'm bushed!

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Wishee Washee's laundry blues


More fleece to wash today. And the order of events is:

Stage one - Straight out of the bag. A fleece only a spinner could love!

Stage two - Hot, hot, hot water and plenty of detergent.

And if you doubt the muck thing, here it is in glorious technicolour.

Stage three - Ta da! Who'd have thought it, one fine fleece ready for dyeing. I wish you could feel it, it is sooo soft. Worth all the effort!

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Welcome to the jungle

Aka, my sadly neglected garden. I've been looking out wistfully at my poor, overgrown borders and moss-infested lawn all week as the sun shone and the birds sang, knowing full well that as soon as I get a minute at the weekend, it will rain or blow a gale!


Well, as luck would have it, the weather hasn't been too bad today. It drizzled most of the time, but not enough put me off getting out there with the pruners and saw and having a good old session lopping shrubs and clearing weeds. I'd like to say it looks fantastic, but it's a definite improvement and I can now see where the bulbs are coming up and there are new shoots on the perennials already. Oh, and we have our first daffodils and scilla in the front pots! Spring is nearly here for sure. (Cheating with this last pic, this was taken late last year, but I just liked it, so I thought I'd share it!).

Friday, 6 March 2009

Naked knitting 2010 - go Knitting Noras, go!

We all know that knitters are warm, caring folk, but, contrary to popular belief, they don't all wear twinsets and knit Shreddies (well, not all the time)!

And to prove it, here is an absolutely fantastic idea to raise funds for the Christie Cancer Hospital.

Bolton's Knitting Noras are getting their kit off for cancer and are producing a Naked Knitting Calendar. As someone who's twice gone the rounds with cancer, this is a cause particularly close to my heart, and I hope you'll all whizz on over to their fab blog and give them lots and lots of support.

So, go sign up to their blog, pass on the word to all your friends and lets make them the most famous naked knitters in the world!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Washing - fleece this time!

As you know I have been scouring the UK for interesting fibres for the Fibre Adventure club, so no surprise that today had me scouring, but this time literally. Up to my elbows in hot, soapy water and greasy fleece.

Now, I can hear some of you groaning at the very thought of it, but I find it strangely satisfying. When you hold a fleece straight off the sheep, it has so much promise. You can feel that a fabulous fibre is bursting to get out from under all that grease and grime. And as the rinse water swills away all the dark brown muck, I love to see those soft, lush locks emerge, all creamy-white and beautiful.

It's like the ugly duckling turning into the swan. When it's dry, I'll post some pics.

Girl power!

Never let it be said that dyers aren't a resourceful bunch. My shower has been blocked for the last few days and no amount of plunging would do the trick. Enter Mum with her diy shower degunging recipe and, would you know it, all the "ingredients" were in my dyestudio!

So, a liberal dose of sodium carbonate down the plug, followed by a good glug of dissolved citric acid and wait for the fizz. When it stops fizzing, sloosh it all down with some boiling water and hey presto! one fully functioning shower. Mr Muscle - pah! Give me some good, old-fashioned bucket chemistry any day.

(And we won't mention that it was blocked up by liberal use of Lush's "snap the whip" body butter and sparkly soap - oops).

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Tired...

Had a lovely evening at Knit-club last night. We had two newcomers, (Hi Jane and Fiona!), which was lovely. I did get some sock knitting done so I'm nearly at the toe of p/hop sock two.

Today I have a busy day planned, but I'm now realising that an evening out, staying up chatting until 1.30am, then getting up again at 7am, is not as easy as it was. Clearly I am out of practice, which of course, can mean only one thing - I need more practice ; )

Monday, 2 March 2009

Knit-club

Knit-club tonight so a couple of hours of good conversation, a pint or two, and I'm going to try and finish the second p/hop sock (depending how much I knit before the beer kicks in, I'll probably be frogging it tomorrow, but what the hey!). Just realised I haven't even combed my hair yet, so I'd better go and make myself look at least a bit presentable.....

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Not an Inkling

Yesterday was Guild day (or "Coven day" as Pete affectionately calls it!). It was my favourite kind of meeting where everyone just turns up and does their thing (no speaker etc.). Speakers and workshops are fab, but sometimes it's just nice to spend a day catching up on gossip, spinning, eating cake (especially Anne's homemade malteser cake - yum!) and just chilling out. There was an informal Inkle Weaving session, but as my Inkle Loom hasn't seen the light of day in, ooh, about 10 years and still has the original weaving on it, I thought I'd stick to spinning and work on the blankie yarn.

So what of the blankie? Well, whilst I can't say I'm enjoying spinning it as much as I expected, I think the yarn will do the job when it's finished. It is fabulously springy and I'm finally getting to grips with keeping it slubby and not reverting to my natural, smooth, dk spin. I've promised myself I won't spin anything else until I've at least plied up a couple more bobbins' worth. I am dangling myself the carrot of spinning up my own little samples of the Fibre Club fibres, so this is spurring me on. I sooooo need to spin something lush.......
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