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.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Gill sent this to WyeSue and I sent it to Jen and Sandra and Myrtle and, well, enjoy:

It ain't all what it seems (thank Photoshop or summat similar) but it's still very clever.

I've just come back from skipnorth and didn't we have a loverly time - must unpack car now. Will upload pics of stash accumulation later...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

And LET there be MOOSIC!

I've just added a playlist to my blog and had great fun choosing favourite tracks that I don't mind playing again and again as I waste spend time on the net. Just like Desert Island Discs.
My other half commented, "Who's that old hippy listening to music in the computer room?"
Thanks to Linda, as I spotted playlist on her blog. I'm her swap partner on Ravelry with a 'focus on handspun', though we've got very different tastes in music, methinks.
Blogging without Obligation...

I was glancing at MsHanane's blog - a knitting blog conversation between two friends, one Jewish, the other Muslim, which is interesting enough in itself, when I noticed this link in the margin. What a great idea. The following is shamelessly copied:

Blogging without obligation
~because you shouldn't have to look at your blog like it is a treadmill.
~because it's okay to just say what you have to say. If that makes for a long post, fine. Short post, fine. Frequent post, fine. Infrequent post, fine.
~because its okay to not always be enthralled with the sound of your own typing.
~because sometimes less is more.
~because only blogging when you feel truly inspired keeps up the integrity of your blog.
~because they are probably not going to inscribe your stat, link and comment numbers on your tombstone. (nor are folk at work likely to remember you after you're gone - tiz friends and family wot count).
~because for most of us blogging is just a hobby. A way to express yourself and connect with others. You should not have to apologize for lapses in posts. Just take a step back and enjoy life, not everything you do has to be "bloggable".
~because if you blog without obligation you will naturally keep your blog around longer, because it won't be a chore. Plus, just think you will be doing your part to eradicate post pollution. One post at a time. . .
f you feel the same way feel please free to grab the logo, make a logo or whatever you would like to do.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Welcome to the Letter S (I feel like I should be on sesame street)
On Aknita's knits I Spotted this meme with a letter theme. Interesting I thought, so I followed the trail to Soctopus and asked Missmalice for a letter - she gave me the letter S. Easy peasy lemon squeasy Methinks. Does Alice know that I'm married to an S, have a son S AND a dog S? (not to mention spinning, spinning and more spinning and sheep).

The idea is that you ask in the comments for a letter and one is sent to you at random. You then blog about ten things you love beginning with that letter.

Here we go then:

1) I'm married to a Steve. This is a rather old picture of he, before the front room got painted (it takes us a long time to decorate). He does not like his picture being taken. He is loyal, funny, kind, patient, an excellent cook, much better at tidying up than me, and a good friend. We've been married 26 years this July and lived together for a good long time before that... (and if I don't get off the computer soon, we may not be together much longer!).

2) The dog who is lying at the foot of the armchair is Tilly. This (you may have noticed) does NOT start with an S. BUT she is the mother of Sydney. Therefore Sydney is her Son (that's two 'S' for the price of one. Sydney was born (with his 8 littermates) during the Oz Olympics. Sydney - geddit?

Here he is waiting for a stick, with Tom the collie waiting to beat him to it. Syd prefers brightly coloured toys that squeak to sticks, usually. So that's Stick and Squeaky toys too (two more S that is)

Here he is having his ears played with (which he adores) and a Sneaky pic of one of my latest FOs - mazzmatazz's ocimum gloves from the Guardian knitting extra a few months back (remember that?) knitted up in my handspun.

3) I also have a Son called Seth. That's two more S. Seth is a great galumphing bear of man (6'4 and size 14 feet) and he gives great hugs. He has inherited his Dad's sense of humour (warped) and is also a great cook and raconteur as well as being a sensitive sausage. He is very people centred and popular. Unfortunately he has inherited my housekeeping abilities. I love both of my men.

4) My Sister is not an S but she is my Sis. Jane is three years younger than me, and fitter, and taller and more intelligent and slimmer. But I love her despite all these things. She teaches Science in a girl's school in Eire. Have I a picture of Jane?

Yep, here's one of her talking to a local yokel down in Cornwall, when we walked 80 miles of the SWCoast Path together, three years ago...

5) I love Spring and Strolling through the lanes around here, with the Sun shining and the snowdrops in abundance. (How many S in there?). Haven't taken any pics of the snowdrops so you'll have to take my word for it! I'm so lucky to live in Dartmoor National Park. This picture was taken on my walk across the moors to Postbridge - to the Hollowing Weekend back in January.

6)I also enjoy Solitude and Solo walking.
You CAN see me in this picture of a viaduct on the West Devon Pathway - I'm the little shadow in the gap in the wall at the top of the viaduct shadow. walked from Tavistock to Plymouth over a couple of days and camped out wild with the dogs - great fun.
7) Spinning, Sheep, Spinning Wheel, drop Spindles...

I'm obsessed, what can I say? I have a golding and an ashford spindle (the one chewed by Jack Russell and which still spins great), and a couple of others too. I also have my lovely, my preciousSS. my Lendrum spinning wheel (which I haven't photographed yet?!)

- but here's what she looks like (pic of distant relative). I've been spinning about 18 months now, and it has always felt like coming home. 8) S is for Skip North and Stash Expedition (SEX) Extraordinaire:

The weekend of 20th March over 40 of us will meet up in Haworth Youth Hostel to Spin and Knit in Public and be whisked around the LYS of Yorkshire, not forgetting the KCG collection and yarn mountain at Lee Mills.

The youth hostel itself is amazing - this stained glass window looks over the master staircase (and I love Stained glass too) - the building used to be owned by the mill owners and has gone through several incarnations before YHA took it on.Here we all are in the front room last year, cooing over stash and knitting, crocheting, knattering... I'm starting to feel the excitement building now. Love it, love it.

9) S is for a sweet tooth I possess, the stodge (think Stew and dumplings for example) I enjoy and the slim waist I long for - the two (three?) being mutually exclusive.

10) and finally a Sigh. The sigh I make when frogging. I have STARTITIS and have upped my WIPs the last week or so... One of my projects on the go is Apres Surf Hoodie by Connie Chang Chincio. She is lovely person btw - We're having a ravelry kal of this hoodie and Connie regularly drops by to offer encouragement. I'm making this hoodie into a cardigan in drops alpaca (I love the colour) - It took me a couple of starts on the lace before I finally could read it - the force is with me now and I'm on my fourth repeat with no (noticeable) mistakes. I'm making the fronts and back all in one to the armholes - that's a very long row to frog!

I also have mimbres vest to finish off (THAT involved steeking - another 'S' but not a love I guess); french beret started to use up some handspun; scarf in touch yarns laceweight boucle to finish off; couple of my own designs to finish; felted clog booties to knit for brother in law;socks to complete. Sigh again. The list goes on.

I was going to discuss Somnambulism but I think this post has gone on and on enough already.

This has been good fun and thanks to Aknita and MissMAlice at Soctupus.

If anyone else would like a random letter to blog on, please do ask and I'll pick one out of the Jacob hat for you.