Thursday, December 20, 2007
Wishing everyone Season's Greetings and a very Happy, Healthy, Prosperous, yarnbookchocolatewine filled, Knitty Knew Year...
I'm off for a quick visit to Eire to play Santa to my nephews, then back here on Christmas Eve for Christmas day with my men - we've got the neighbours coming over in the evening to play silly games (I bought Cranium 'specially). Then it's off to Horsham to see M-I-L on her birthday and back to work a week Friday. No time/opportunity for blogging next week then.
I can feel a blogging New Year's resolution coming on.
Before I go - couple of rants, just to get 'em off my chest. I met the postie t'other morning, whilst out walking the mutts before work. He gave me a card with £1.06 excess charge to pay. I handed over the money - but read on the envelope whilst strolling home, that £1 was a 'handling charge' because a friend had not realised that her (normal sized) card was a fraction too large and thus fell into the 'large letter' category and should have had 6p over the first class stamp she had affixed. What bloody bureaucratic nonsense is this? Are the Royal Mail so uncharitable that they can't waive 6p at Christmas? I resent paying this penalty, but I can at least afford it. What about pensioners who can ill afford that quid? Take note, card manufacturers and bah humbug to the W****** at the Royal Mail who are responsible. Reckon we should all not bother with cards and donate to charity instead (like I've done for the last couple of years, then felt cosumed with guilt that I'd neglected my friends...)
And later that same day - I phoned Irish Ferries to book a foot passenger ticket for me - and my dogs - to go to Ireland for the weekend. "Sorry", says the telesales person on the end of the 'phone, "Dogs are no longer allowed on board with footpassengers". I do sincerely apologise for my curt response, Mrs telesales person, as I realise it's not YOUR fault that I can't bring my dogs to Eire, but I am outraged that dogs have been banned because of "hygeine and safety". They've never been allowed anywhere but in the kennels on the cardeck anyway. And if I wanted to take them in my car (for an extra £160) then THAT'S ok - and hygeine and safety are no longer an issue - despite having to lodge in those self same kennels.
Shakes fist at anonymous b******* in offices who have no hearts.
See you all next year.
Monday, December 03, 2007
Now - times that £6 by 10 and you get what my Mum paid for this spinning wheel for my birthday present - courtesy of Susan from the Devon Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers - an Ashford Traditional - isn't it also gorgeous? Tilly looks suitably impressed - NOT (Can you eat it? no. Can you play with it. NO!).Well I can. Play with it I mean. Tough knitty, dog. And this was my first attempt at spinning on my very own wheel with the roving that WyeSue gave me for my birthday (thank you Sue! HUGS!)
Lumpy, bumpy, thick and thin. What fun! Think I'll try and dye this.
Here's the bag of stash I was presented with at Get Knitted by the incredibly generous WyeSue, a few weeks back. I bought just a few other items too - well you just got to make that long drive worthwhile, don't you? I said DON'T YOU!?
Following Yarn Harlot's instructions - I laid out all the locks in line, inside a ripped apart pillowcase and then laid in a roasting tin. Then I made a neat little parcel of it all. I soaked it once in hot water. Then I put the pan, hot water and a dash of fairy liquid on the cooker and steamed the lot for an hour! Then I rinsed it and rinsed it again. I got lovely clean soft locks all ready for spinning. I've been carding them as well, but the experienced spinners I met at the Guild meeting (my first) on December 8th assured me I could spin it as is...
This next picture is of the fleece drying. I've got fed up with all this sorting out - so next I tried sticking a larger amount in the bathtub and washing it that way - result? Slightly felted and therefore harder to card, but just as clean. I was told that this fleece is easy for beginners to spin up - I'm going to spin enough chunky yarn to knit Sonnet methinks. Probably over ambitious, but WTH I'm sure I'll learn heaps. I've already spun and plied about 8oz of lumpy bumpy chunky which I beat up on the pretext of 'setting the twist' (these spinners are a kinky lot). I've also tried spinning more tops from the pile that WyeSue gave me - coloured stuff (you can see it peeking through the plastic in the picture above) - I didn't know about predrafting when I did it - but now I do. The chunky green result will be a green stripe in the Sonnet.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
I was at O and R's birth the other day - O is a midwife herself and knew exactly what she wanted - a home birth, with a quiet and dimmed atmosphere, with lots of love around. She wanted as few interventions as possible, and wanted to use TENs and for R to use Shiatsu for pain relief. They both had an array of homeopathic and bach flower remedies to hand... O had a long prelabour - she'd been up for two nights before I got there and R hadn't had much sleep either. We'd only met once before, but it's always so much easier for me when a couple know what they want...
I arrived at 11am and she was pleased to be told her cervix was 5cm dilated and the baby was in a good position and his heart was always really reassuring and steady. R has the most amazing smile that lights up the place and great big hands just great for massaging - mine didn't compare and O only wanted R's hands doing their magic on her shoulders and lower back.
I went off to collect the resus equipment and entonox (and grab some lunch). When I got back at about 1pm, O's contractions were still plodding along at about 2-3:10, strong but slightly irregular. Using acupressure would bring them up to speed slightly but they would always drop back to 2-3:10.
Still, O's cervix was 8 cm dilated at 17.15hrs (I'd left it a bit longer to check as I knew that we weren't going to get 1cm an hour!). I'm getting a bit of pressure from Labour Ward by this time - the coordinator would phone and want to know if I was happy and why didn't I do an ARM?!
But even as we're arranging transfer for delay, O starts to make that wonderful grunting noise that signifies second stage and there's a show and so, we cancel the ambulance and we say welcome to baby boy just half an hour later. And wait for the cord to stop pulsing and admire the true knot. The placenta only takes 11 minutes to arrive.
Beautiful baby boy is so alert and goes straight on the breast. O has achieved everything on her birth plan - a wonderful normal birth with just a whiff of entonox to get through transition, and R would make a wonderful midwife... His smile lights up the room after its all over. I have such admiration for their love and strength and courage and determination and teamwork.
HA! - I frogged the sock I'd knitted because I'd made it too narrow, but the next day I knitted up a teeny tiny pair of socks in the same yarn for O and R's baby boy, to remind them of that incredible journey - just as O had soaked a silk square in liquor (mec and all) to remind their son of his time in the womb.
I called them I ching socks because the lines remind me of those little pictograms.
If any of my blogland friends have been wondering where I've been - I've been over on Ravelry! What a wonderful place to get lost in. I've also been celebrating my half century - and made my birthday last an entire week - wonderful.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
WE also tried to keep everything really affordable - £1 entrance and only £4 extra for the sockknitting and felting workshops. Here's Jill keeping busy...There was a really happy atmosphere - knitters wondering around with smiles on their faces and children trailing long lengths of fingerknitting behind them...
This is Rosie the blue sheep, hiding under the entrance table...
WE also had Mary from Ashburton doing spinning demonstrations, ably assisted by Sue (in the foreground who came to my spinning workshop and has come on leaps and bounds since then!)
Lookit Shaun watching the goings on.
The exhibition part of the exhibition must be the least successful part of the afternoon - we weren't able to stick anything on the walls - though we did manage to hang coathangers from the picture rail. I'd hired stands from the Bovey tracey Society of Artists - cheap and cheerful at £5 per stand - but then I lost my double sided tape (found it after it was all over!) which left Ruth and Kathryn trying to be resourceful with needle and thread. I'd also make laminated posters of some of Yarn Harlot's sayings to amuse: eg "sweater 'n': a garment put on the child when the mother feels chilly".
Joyce (our local yarn store proprieter from Spin-A-Yarn) had brought along lots of samples:
LYS - speaking of which, I went up to Get Knitted t'other day - what a wonderful place! Spin-a-yarn expanded into supermarket size! I digress.
We also had a WIPS table, which displayed Mary's unblocked lace tablecloth - the one she's been knitting since we started our S'NB group! But Kate didn't photograph it :-(
Bright bright dyed fleece. Someone made a green man!
No pics - but Anniken also led a successful workshop on how to knit socks: I saw some gorgeous miniature socks being clutched by pleased owners. Anni also brought along some of her beautiful handdyed yarn and donated a couple of hanks to the raffle.
Then our very own Chris did some wonderful demonstrations and answered lots of queries on dyeing wool yarn with acid dyes in the microwave oven.
Finally we had so many people let us know what a good time they had and wanted us to let them know when we were doing it again. Many non-knitters felt inspired to take up the pins and get knitting.
I think we achieved our aims.
Thanks to Jill, Kathryn, Mary, Ruth and Chris from our Stitch 'n Bitch group, and Chris (Ruth's partner - who helped mantle and dismantle the stands!) . Thanks to Joyce from Spin-a-yarn, Anniken from Cornwall, and Mary from Ashburton - for all your hard work. Also Cath, Sue next door, Sue from Bovey, Dawn, Gill, Cheryl and Caroline from my bookclub who all helped with the teas. Mike and Kirsty from the Village Hall committee also deserve a mention for pitching in at various points during the day and Pete Harvey for fetching and carrying all those stands from Bovey Tracey. That's a lot of little socks for me to knit!!!