Tuesday, June 23, 2009

MEME - yet another one.

I've a half finished rant post about a birth I attended a while ago but in the meantime I found this on Ali the Artist's blog.

Things you've already done: bold (and I've made it stand out more by changing the colour)
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven't done and don't want to - leave in plain font

1. started your own blog
2. slept under the stars
- ooo lots of times. Last time was probably when we walked the south west coast path
3. played in a band
4. visited Hawaii (this must be American! grin)
5. watched a meteor shower (Big Green Gathering was a good place for this - right time of the year. Sadly BGG is no more).
6. given more to charity than you could afford
7. been to disneyland/world Been to Eurodisney for a day - the week after it opened. My french friend Sophie with whom I was staying was disgusted with me. I took my son who was then 5yrs old - he's 21 now!
8. climbed a mountain (Does Snowdon count? I've also climbed a little mountain in Scotland). 9. held a praying mantis
10. sang a solo
11.bungee jumped (though as I get older I get wussier)
12. visited paris (that's where my aforementioned friend Sophie lives).
13. watched a lightning storm at sea (think so, I sailed to US on the QE2 when I was 16yrs old and i'm sure there was a storm on the way!)
14. taught yourself an art from scratch (calligraphy, watercolour, and lots more)
15. adopted a child
16. had food poisoning (oh yes! many times but memorably, campylobacter on Christmas Day in Ireland and Giardia in Turkey)
17. walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty - (no, but I've been up the Eiffel Tower, and also climbed a humungous amount of steps on the Great Wall of China).
18. grown your own vegetables I'm not very good at this - but we usually have courgettes from the garden, and parsley, various salads and herbs.
19. seen the mona lisa in france
20. slept on an overnight train
several times - most memorably in China - when I took a three day train ride right across the country, solo.
21. had a pillow fight That's what sisters are for, isn't it?
22. hitch hiked lots of times in the 1970s
23. taken a sick day when you’re not ill must have done at least once, but I usually feel so guilty that I actually get ill! last time was when I was qualifying as a nurse and I hadn't taken any time off - so I took a day off after my exams.
24. built a snow fort (never have enough snow for this)
25. held a lamb - and a baby pig, puppies, kittens, all babies are cute.
26. gone skinny dipping -nothing quite like it.
27. run a marathon I've run a half marathon, so maybe one day I'll do the whole thing.
28. ridden a gondola in venice - yes, surprisingly
29. seen a total eclipse
30. watched a sunrise or sunset - both!
31. hit a home run
32. been on a cruise But I'm going on one THIS AUGUST! I'm going on a knitting cruise with Nancy Bush and Beth Brown-Reinsell around the Baltics and I can't wait! I've also sailed across the Atlantic on the QE2 but I'm not sure that quite counts.
33. seen niagara falls in person it's odd that I haven't because I lived in Wisconsin for two years from when I was 16yrs old.
34.visited the birthplace of my ancestors - well I still live around here - I'm fairly sure they were all welsh/west country celts so here I still am.
35. seen an Amish community
36. taught yourself a new language
37. had enough money to be truly satisfied - is it possible?!
38. seen the leaning tower of pisa in person
39. gone rock climbing - but only beginner's type rock climbing at Chudleigh Rock Centre
40. seen Michael Angelo's David in real life
41. sung karaoke
42. seen old faithful geyser erupt
43. bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. visited Africa - Morocco
45. walked on a beach by moonlight
46. been transported in an ambulance
As the health professional - and when my dh broke his ankle falling out of a tree!
47. had your portrait painted - not painted, but I've been drawn.
48. gone deep sea fishing
49. seen the cistene chapel in person
50. been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. gone scuba diving or snorkelling
snorkelling only - but I love it.
52. kissed in the rain (probably)
53. played in the mud
54. gone to a drive-in theatre
55. been in a movie
56. visited the great wall of china
57. started a business
58. taken a martial arts class I've done aikido and tai chi briefly
59. visited Russia but I'll be in St Petersberg for a day in September.
60. served at a soup kitchen - I nearly did when I lived in London but didn't. I don't think there are any round here.
61. sold girl guide cookies I ran the local Woodcraft Folk for several years and I was a brownie and girl guide so I'm sure I have done the equivelent many times over.
62. gone whale watching
63. gotten flowers for no reason
64. donated blood - they won't have mine, as I've had Heb B in the past.
65. gone sky-diving Again, I so very nearly did get this organised, but my Uncle Bob let me down
66. visited a nazi concentration camp
67. bounced a cheque I may have done this when I was a poverty stricken student.
68. flown in a helicopter As a child, so young I can't remember!
69. saved a favorite childhood toy There's a fleabitten Bugs Bunny in the attic.
70. visited the Lincoln Memorial (now if I was anglicising this would what would be the equivalent?)
71. eaten caviar
72. pieced a quilt I've put together small patchwork items but never an entire quilt.
73. stood in times square
74. toured the everglades - no, but I've been to the Bitches in a kayak!
75. been fired from a job when I was a teenager I had a job in a chippy with my sister and got sacked a couple days later for having an argument with her.
76. seen the changing of the guard in london
77. broken a bone # collarbone- Falling off a motorcycle!
78. been on a speeding motorcycle I was driving it! I've had a kawasaki 550cc ~ they go quite fast.
79. seen the grand canyon in person - nope, but I've been to the Lake District!
80. published a book
81. visited the vatican
82. bought a brand new car
83. walked in Jerusalem
84. had your picture in the newspaper several times - but the last time was only last week! I was helping out at the Contemporary Craft Show and they put my pic in showing children how to finger knit.
85. read the entire bible
86.visited the White House - but I've seen the houses of Parliament and visited a courtroom.
87. killed and prepared an animal for eating - seperately. I've killed a poorly chicken, and I've prepared a rabbit for a pie. I haven't actually skinned an animal though.
88. had chickenpox (when I was 3 or 4 years old)
89. saved someone’s life not in the dramatic sense, but I've made judgement calls to transfer in, call the doc etc as a midwife.
90. sat on a jury
91. met someone famous my husband once snubbed Joanna Lumley. I've said hullo and swooned at the feet of a couple of musicians once or twice!
92. joined a bookclub I'm in one. Currently reading 'Surviellance' by Jonathan Raban
93. lost a loved one
94. had a baby

95. seen the Alamo in person
96. swum in the great salt lake.
97. been involved in a law suit sort of second hand - I've been involved peripherally where parents have sued the hospital. I also went to my MP once about being sued for money by wandsworth Council. The money was owed to the Council by a nursery where my son attended years before and I was a volunteer on the committee -I got let off.
98. owned a cell phone Is this is mobile?
99. been stung by a bee OH yes, ouch.

Now it's your turn.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

May Day Weekend:

Sunny for a change! Lustleigh celebrated in usual style on Saturday by crowning Kirsty as May Queen and I didn't get to see a thing as I was nose to nose, face painting children all afternoon. The festivities kicked off at 2pm, and the carpark was full to bursting by 2.30pm. The sun brings out the best in everyone. There were morris dancers and a brass band, and coconut shies and bottle stalls - all good fun.

By Monday the weather was overcast but I managed to haul DH out for a walk on the moors in the afternoon. We took a 5 mile stroll out to Watern Tor and the Thurlestone circumnavigating Gidleigh Common.

Parked at Scorhill Farm (out the back of Chagford) and then set off in a north west direction along a well defined track to Rival Tor. It was windy and Steve's ears soon got cold but it blew the cobwebs away.
This picture looks back to the trees by Scorhill where the car is parked - the bump on the horizon above the line of trees is Kes Tor.We had to cross several brooks and streams - including Gallaven and Walla Brook on the way to Watern.Tea stop - and the picture below is looking past the Thurlestone to the East - see the wind rippling the puddle?
and looking North past Watern Tor to Steeperton.Don't have many pictures of me as I'm usually doing the snapping - but here's one (wearing snuggly Rogue hoody) and Syd by one of the granite piles of Watern. We looked for Wally May's ruined house but couldn't find it, then followed a newtake wall. We saw many Wheatears flying around - or 'White Arses' as Steve called them - telling me it was the prudish Victorians that renamed them Wheatears. down to the North Teign - past this clapper bridge to an amazing Tolmen - or holed stone - this one is meant to have magical properties, make wishes come true, cure all sorts of diseases and bring good luck if you climb through it, so we both did. Syd just looked bemused.
All in all, a pleasant way to spend a Bank Holiday afternoon.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Wonderful Wonderwool Wales...

Spent the entire weekend at Wonderwool and had a wonderful time meeting up with old friends and making new. Don't think I stopped talking, so apologies if you didn't get a word in edgewise.
Started off by keeping Gill from Woolly Workshop awake - I was very late arriving at the Greyhound Hotel where we shared a room, after driving around Builth Wells several times looking for the place... We shared much wine and banter despite it being past 1am.

I was volunteering on the Knitting and Crochet Guild Stand for the two days - and had these posters made for the event. I'm really pleased with how they turned out.

Now here we have the KCG Mafioso: Mrs White, Mrs Green and Mrs variagated purple with glittery highlights. Look at those needles fly! (Liz (Ali's mum), Ali and Jane in reality).
And what's Stash describing to Rosie - whatever, it was THIS big!

I neglected to take many photographs (too busy yakking) - but these fellas took my eye. The guy on the left has his hand under the box waggling those fish like fury (least I think that's what he's doing). Don't even go there. Scary. I think they were there because Wonderwool coincides nicely with a Welsh Food festival - yummy scotch eggs with myriad coatings and lots of other fattening goodies.There were so many colourful sights to see - here's just one example of soffft beauty.

I ran into Artisan-Anne and her daughter KraftyKath, Maylin, Laal Bear, Mr and Mrs Ambermoggie, WyeSue, Claire Crompton, lots of TeaShop Knitters (Spinning Janey, Chris, Jaebird, Jillliv) and Devon Spinners, Weavers, Dyers who came up in a coach (via Cardiff??!) on the Saturday plus lots more who know who they are and sorry if I've left you off the list...

One of the things I love about Wonderwool is meeting our fibrey friends in the flesh: here are a couple of alpacas, who I saw being taken for a walk around the fields on Saturday night after the show.

As I left the show I was greeted by a rainbow over the Brecon Beacons...

And goodbye Wales, croeso i Lloegr!
Driving over the Severn Bridge...

But What Did I buy? Far too much - I've spent my fibre allowance for the year now (well, at least until the knitting cruise at the end of the summer). This is what I got from KCG: a big cone of cheviot laceweight wool from the Joan Boardman legacy. A couple of cute cards, and some Rowan DK black 'soft' from Stash. the pink stuff is going to be fingerknitted for workshops at the Contemporary Craft Show in Bovey Tracey in June.

This was my bargain find: Alchemy Haiku Kid Silk/Mohair. This was from a destash courtesy of a Mrs B and two and a not quite complete third skein of 'equinox' colour for £12. Normally this stuff retails at £17 EACH! (at my LYS anyway).

The beads and stitch markers were also a bargain from the Natural Dye Studio. The laceweight hand dyed pandora from Artisan Yarns is for Aeolian shawl when I pluck up courage.

I saw the fat fairy godmother looking for a cinderella and thought of my friend Sandra: This is for her. The green merino (700g) was all of £10 and from JohnArbon at Coldharbour Mill/Alpaca UK. I also got the bosworth spindle from P&M woolworks - which is just as well as I've just broken the Golding I've got. Apparently P&M are stopping supplying them which means you won't be able to get them at all in the UK. The fibre is the yak/silk I bought at Skipnorth. I also bought two pairs small size knitpicks options (or Knitpros as they seem to be called now) to add to my collection. Stash had knitted RAJ shawl in sari silk and I fell in love. So I bought 5 skeins from the Threshing Barn and have ordered the pattern. I will finish this to wear on the Knitting Cruise.Finally I had been given a mission by Myrtle: yarn for a collaborative project and this was it. Great fun! I've started balling it up already and knitted the first square.

I also attended two workshops while I was at Wonderwool: modular knitting and dorset buttons. The modular knitting was no better than WyeSue's, and the dorset buttons I've now mastered. The board on top is Caroline Mace's display of buttons.

I had to remember to buy the boys at home something too: They got a pudding each from the PUdding Compartment, and also some garlic and olives.

All in all, a lovely time and I couldn't wait to get started on all the projects I've got in mind. Here's the will o'the wisp I've started with the haiku. There should even be enough left over for a (fiery) ice queen!
There are loads of links to be added to this post but I'll do that later. Got to work sometimes!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Susan Boyle.
I've just watched this clip three times in a row. Wow. Apparently it's the third most commented on clip on youtube! It's the change in the faces of the audience and the judges that gets me. And that heavenly voice. Fantastic camera work: capturing that cynical audience before and after and maybe there'll be a few more folk who won't make assumptions based on appearance as a result.
And I can carry on being a fat, middle-aged, non make up wearing, grey haired, crook teethed, mutton jeff woman who isn't completely invisible wherever I go as a result.
I haven't got a tv so thanks to the knitter who directed me to this link. Made my day!

Susan Boyle - Singer - Britains Got Talent 2009 - The most popular videos are here

Here's a 1999 track of her singing "Cry Me a River".

See also Tanya Gold's take on this underdog makes good phenomenon.

I'll post something about the hollowing later. ah, good intentions.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Skip North 2009

And it was all over so quickly ~

I started off a day earlier this year, though, with the usual last minute pack and late arrival at WyeSue's place in Hereford (driving down country lanes in dense fog is not my idea of fun). We began the adventure the next morning, standing on her bed looking at the wildlife in the garden: two wild ducks shagging on the pond. I kid you not. DH reckons that Mrs Duck got off lightly with the mild ducking that she received during the procreative act: apparently if there are more than one suitor, she can drown!

Here is WyeSue trying to load the car - and this is BEFORE we even get there! Yep, she's having yet another destash...
We made good progress and got to Texere about half an hour before it closed. I didn't buy much here, but made notes for a future visit - just a big piece of soft leather which I thought might be good for soles on knitted booties.

Then we headed up to Mankinholes - which is a youth hostel set in beautiful countryside above Hebden Bridge not far off the Calderdale and Pennine Ways and just how I imagined Yorkshire would be.
We were joined by the 'Edinburgh crew' (that's Nat, Isabella, Margarete and Sally with WyeSue in the pic) who had also journeyed down early to visit Texere and here we all are after supper in the dining room, enjoying an early start to Skipnorth examining spoils, drinking wine, knitting (of course)...

Next morning up bright and early to be greeted by mist and the view of Stoodley Pike Monument on the hill behind the YH. After breakfast and clearing up, WyeSue and I decided to hike up to it -not as far as it looks, but a steep climb.

We strolled past brand new lambs as the sun began to warm the air and clear the mist.

The monument is covered in graffiti... How did they do it? I managed to climb up to the first level but the rest defeated me. Nice view, and here I am, modelling my finished Bettna.Quicker coming down than up, and we are greeted by these less than woolly sheep back in Mankinholes.

SkipNorth proper takes place at another youth hostel in Haworth - a far more urban setting, but a beautiful building (used to belong to the local Mill Owner). I led my first ever knitting workshop - with a colour theme - that afternoon and got positive feedback. Several participants had done colour classes with some well known knitters and reckoned my class was superior (head swells). There was a good selection of workshops on offer: dyeing, lace, filet crochet, colour and modular knitting.

And in the evening we spread out into four rooms (including the dining room) and brought out the knitting and spinning, cake and wine... There's nothing quite like getting together with a bunch of likeminded people and knitting. There was a LOT of enabling going on!

This work of art belongs to and is being demonstrated by the Spinning Fishwife - it's a spinning wheel operated by a pendulum. There's more about it on her blog.

Saturday and we pile on two coaches, appropriately labelled 'knit' and 'crochet' - there were double the number of us this year. I was a little apprehensive about the large number of folk but I needn't have worried - everyone was very happy to mingle and the group seemed very inclusive.

First we went to Coldspring Mill - Then we were in the second bus getting lost on the way to Lee Mills. We caused an obstruction on a major highway whilst awaiting directions... Once there we were shown a little selection from the Knitting and Crochet Guild collection - and the display was propped against the banana boxes - what other museum shows you around the warehouse? It doesn't really show the Guild in its best light...And yet, they have some wonderful treasures tucked away: We also visited the Skep - a small knitting shop and this wonderful haberdashers - which hasn't changed its contents since the 1950s I shouldn't wonder.

Later that same day, we celebrated Kiwi Sue's 50th birthday... And I can be found picking up signals from alpha centauri...The final Sunday I took no pictures - I was too busy perusing the treasures at Winghams. As you can see, I managed to contact an alien species the previous night, who accomplished the transplant of several large breasts onto my chest whilst I wasn't looking. Either that, or they're the ones LittleLixie gave me for our Baby Friendly Initiative project... Must give them to the Health Visitor. Breast Feeding Week coming up!

All in all, a bigger and even better SkipNorth than last year thanks to LittleLixie and Nickerjac's fab organisational skills, and I'll go again next year if I'm still around.

What spoils did I bring home with me?:I bought this chunky auracania to knit a jumper from ColdSpring Mill, and those rather lovely knitting needles from the Skep. The couple balls of Noro Shikisai became Ishbel as a present for Bev in thanks for dogsitting. There's some sock yarn from Coldspring there too, and 200g undyed lace weight yarn from the KCG yarn mountain. The knitted thing is flat feet for socks (thanks Nic) ... All lying on that large piece of leather I got from Texere.

Moving on - this is the stash I swopped or acquired over the weekend from other SkipNorthers... Some of it was for The Yarn Yard p/hop charity Medecins Sans Frontieres UK - and I've made a donation to the cause (see widget in side bar to watch the astonishing progress toward £2000 - better still donate - tiz an excellent cause)

A lot from the following pic came from Winghams - and some bits are a present for a Ravelry swop 'focus on Handspun'. There's also some dyes, buttons from the haberdashers, and books from the KCG.Finally, fleece! That grey ball is North Ronaldsay sheep fleece and was a present from Isabella and is already spun up and awaiting knitting. It's wonderfully soft. The green brown fleece is from Wye Sue's destashing. There's some scottish llama top left corner and next to that is undyed BFL. I also bought 100g of yak/silk which is so amazingly soft it feels like bunny. And I nearly forgot - that's Spunky Eclectic (aka Abby's yarns) batt in there too - looking pink/brown which I got from Margarete (TA!). It's very soft and shiny with hints of red in it, and seems to have all sorts of natural fibre from alpaca to silk thrown in. My batts look nothing like this! I've already spun that one up too.There are some little carders down the front from Winghams which have turned out to be just the thing for flick carding the shetland fleece I bought at Wonderwool last year.

Here's what I've been doing with that baby carder - I've been trying to spin the shetland as fine as I can to knit a shetland lace square for this year's Weaver's, Spinner's, Dyer's, Guild shetland challenge. That's my wee Golding spindle which is just right for spinning fine.

All in all, I had a fabulous time and it was so good to meet up with old friends and make new.