Monday, December 20, 2010


Woohoo, DEVON is cut off from the rest of the country by SNOW and I've not been able to move the car to get to work. So now I'm off until next week.
This means I've been able to crack on and finish spinning all the Batcat's catfluff for Gina - I've finished knitting the scarf and just need to knit a brioche hat to go with it and it's all done.
The final two skeins need the twist setting - I'm going to soak them now and then bash them against the wall outside (my favourite bit), before hanging them up to dry. Catfluff felts and matts really easily (it was just a load of matted pellets wrapped in a scarf when I received it!) - so it will need washing with care. I've spun it 50/50 with some falkland's merino, so it's lovely and soft, but still has some elasticity and bounce.

Friday, December 17, 2010

When I went to Hogwart's, I was known as Merope Finch-Fletchley.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nothing to do with knitting: Whilst queueing at the tills in Tesco on the way back from work this evening, I ran into Doreen Anderson - the mother of a young paddler at my old haunt, Teignbridge Canoe Club. Doreen had some exciting news to tell me.

Her oldest son Sam was a natural in a kayak - he would sit in a stopper eating a packet of crisps, his boat cresting the wave and perfectly balanced - minute adjustments made with just a little flick of his hips. That's him training in the picture. Awesome. This same young man is now British Freestyle Champion and will be in representing us at the World Championships next year. Woohoo! And to think I knew him when he was just a nipper!
I could just about stick my nose in a stopper, before getting washed off (upside down more often than not). Haven't been kayaking in ages - too cold and too busy knitting :-P

Way to Go, Sam!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Oh my goodness! I can upload pics to my blog again! This is because I've been decluttering - and whilst doing so, I came across the little manual from PCworld which suggested 'cleaning' my hard disc to make it more effective: start > all programs > accessories > system tools > disc cleanup. Well now I know. It was all those temporary 'quick view' internet pages that get downloaded for offline viewing (that I never do) - unload and voila! Back in business!
(I am SO untechy).
This a pic of my Syd peeking out from behind the safety of my knees. It's proof I walk whilst spindling - I was plying on the fly here - and pulling the yarn through the loop in order to navajo ply. It was taken by my young friend Becky who is a PROFESSIONAL photographer - and has a number of very flash looking digi cameras.
I'll update on my knitting later, now I can upload pics again. Cross fingers it lasts!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Still can't upload pics :-(

However - I consulted the universe and got an unequivocal result:
I asked "should I retire from mdwifery when I've completed my shiatsu course?" (in order to pursue tutleymutley's further textile adventures etc etc...)

I asked the I Ching book of changes first (haven't consulted that book since I was a teenager, but my neighbour Sara has it so I had a go!) and back came the result:

"A well must be cleaned out from time to time or it will become clogged with mud."

Therefore the hexagram ching - the well- is followed by the hexagram of revolution, showing the need of changes in long established institutions to keep them from stagnating.

The removal of that which is antiquated : Fire below quickened by wind and wood. The entire movement of the hexagram is UP

Judgement: On your own day, you are believed. Supreme success furthering through perseverence. Remorse disappears.

The image: Fire in the lake. The image of revolution. Thus the superior (wo)man sets the calender in order and makes the seasons clear.

Sooo, I thought I'd get a tarot reading from one of the many online places to see what THAT said (while I was at it). Same result! uncanny:

I chose a random spread and got the 'twisting path' which is the one used where there are more than one potential pitfall lying ahead.

The card representing the first decision along my path was the Knight of Wands: the essence of Fire (again - at the bottom) - such a great conflagration. It represents one filled with vitality and passion for life. A sexy and exciting person, daring in their actions, cocky in their attitude and utterly without fear. Absolute sincerity coupled with violent emotions which swing wildly from one extreme to another. Boundless creativity and lust for a change of both place and pace. The rapid approach (or more likely departure) of something that sets your world ablaze. Often suggests travel or escape.

The card at the lower left represents the first false path which may lead me astray: Eight of Swords, or interference when reversed. Learning a valuable lesson from the unexpected consequence of prior decisions. Narrowly escaping criticism, censure and the imposition of external restrictions. Focussing on the crux of a problem and freeing oneself from a difficult situation. Coming to grips with a past humiliation or failure and moving on.

The card in the middle represents the second decision along my path: Death. A major change or transformation, possibly traumatic or unexpected. Freedom from the shackles of the past. A new beginning. Death coupled with rebirth, usually related to consciousness and lifestyle.

The card at the lower right represents the second false path which might lead me astray: The western Emporer, when reversed. Weakness in character leading to tyranny and abuse of wordly power. Loss of confidence and ambition coupled with the cold execution of the unthinkable. The inability to carry out plans or command respect. Being unreasonable and prone to fits of rage. A deceiver or demagogue.

The card at the top of the spread represents one possible mask of your true destination: The Ten of Cups (SATIETY). Fulfilment and joy in life and love. Feeling peace, tranquility and contentment in friends and family. Taking delight in ones good fortune.

Now, I know this might all be a load of bollocks, but I see it as tapping into my unconscious - or the universal unconscious. OF COURSE it's all down to how you might want to interprete the poetic language, the images but for all that, I reckon it all means YES - go for it! Retirement here I come!

Tutleymutley's textile adventures gonna Rock!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

KTOG this weekend - SUNDAY 17th October, 1-5.30pm in Ashburton - St Andrew's Church Hall, Western Road.
This is the EDiT knitters' fourth annual exhibition - we've been going that long!- and we have the usual stalls - Joyce from Spin-A-Yarn, John and Juliet from Fibre Harvest, Yarnaddict Anni, Vicky from HULU and Claire Crompton - local author will be there too.
There's also some mini workshops - on continental knitting and braided knitting, alongside learn to knit and crochet at the Stitch'nBitch cafe. Raffle in aid of South Devon Womens Aid and the UK National Knitting week charity Bliss. It's also British wool Week this week - so we're supporting that too! £1 entrance, children 10 and under free.

I've a horrible feeling I've underadvertised again.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Where am I? Who am I?

Thanks for the comment Kathy. You might wonder why I'm not posting that often these days - it's to do with the fact that this old PC freezes every time I try to upload any pictures. Bummer. Time for a new computer, I think.

I'm busy knitting and spinning and organising the Samhain FIBRE RETREAT however. check out for details.

While I was posting this, I just happened to notice the new templates blogger have on offer, so I took advantage. I quite like the new skyline.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Not just the humble DISHCLOTH,,,

I've not long finished this garterlac dishcloth, which is my first attempt at entrelac - and was pondering on what an excellent medium for experimentation dishcloths are: small, instant gratification, great for experimenting with new stitch patterns like lace and entrelac. They make great gifts when accompanied by a bar of special soap. They get a lot of flac from some people - there's even a group on Ravelry dedicated to scorning them (well - there's a group for nearly everything on RAV!).
Then I opened my new Yarn Forward issue 26 and it seems new editor Anna Bell has been having exactly the same thoughts! I do like a bit of synchronicity!
And I liked nearly half the patterns in this issue - Adderback gloves (with accompanying fascinating article on knitting in Yorkshire), top down cardi, summertweed girls top, and a couple pairs of socks. There's also a great article on constructing a shetland shawl from Sharon Miller (though I have the book). The best issue yet! (even better than YF24 which published my Lizard Duffle Bag, so I'm biased).
DEAFness and knitting...

Everyone knows I'm quite deaf, but not often that combines so neatly with that other little interest of mine: I LOL when I read this on the "hard of hearing UK" mailing list,

Oh I love live subtitles! On BBC1 10 o'clock news just now, Huw Edwards apparently said, "Right now, Mr Cameron and his wife are over in the Palace of Westminster knitting parliamentary colleagues." :D (OK, so maybe Huw Edwards actually said meeting, but I prefer to believe the subtitles.)

Monday, May 03, 2010

Life is just deliciously busy at present:

I've yet to hand in module one of the City and Guild's handknitting course, but I'm enjoying it enormously - I did a mini workshop with Sue Blacker of Blacker's in Launceston Cornwall at Wonderwool last Sunday, on how to recognise the parts and quality of an alpaca fleece - and found myself quoting from my yarn studies. So something is going 'in'.
Wonderwool was fab! Though I managed to miss an entire section (sorry to have missed you, Claire and Ambermoggie and Apricotqueen and Bexx). And we filled a 57 seater bus, all bar 3 seats.

In an effort to rid myself of unnecessary emotional baggage, I've started attending a Saturday psychotherapy group - about every 4-6 weeks - I've committed to attending 6 sessions.
and alongside that, and complementing it, I've just started the foundation year on a diploma in Shiatsu. I've done one weekend (or one DAY actually - as Wonderwool clashed with the second day). I got together with a fellow student to catch up on what I missed (thanks Lorna)- and I've done what amounts to 4 elaborate back rubs on 4 guinea pigs. I've had some lovely compliments (they must want MORE) - perhaps beginner's luck? Nicest of all from a cranio-sacral therapist friend who said my touch was intuitive and good - with the right pressure, rhythm and warmth - he demonstrated what a 'poor' shiatsu felt like - hesitant, twitchy, lacking rhythm. My heart warms.

And I'm still working as a midwife and knitting, spinning, dyeing when I can.

Here's a lovely link for those hesitating with what life has to offer...
"The Little Rules of Action"
(That sounds as if I'm being rather smug - but I need this advice as much as anyone - I've often hesitated to jump in and DO because of self doubt and negativity and FEAR - I'll also fantasize instead of do - I've got an excellent imagination - but the reality is sooo much better).

“Talk doesn’t cook rice.” - Chinese Proverb

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spinning puddytat fur The East Dartmoor Teashop Knitters (lor, there must be a shorter, catchier name for us?!) meet on the third sunday of every month in the Community Club in Moretonhampstead. However, when it's booked up, we decant to the Gateway Tearooms where we are well looked after by Gina and Jonathan, which is what happened last Sunday. Gina has a pedigree cat that looks a little like a miniature Bengal tiger. I'm pleased to report that this cat has now birthed three pedigree kittens - I've seen the photograph of the babies, and I've stroked and congratulated the mum, who looks very well and very proud.

Gina is enamoured of cats, as can be seen. We got to talking about spinning (as I’d brought the spindle along, with the latest soy bean fluff) and she got very excited about the possibility of spinning up moggie fur. She has a big bundle of dearly beloved (deceased) moggie’s cat fur all wrapped up in a silken handkerchief and had been planning to stuff a cushion with it or similar. It’s very VERY short staple and fairly matted from sitting around a while. Fool that I am, I said I’d have a go, but that I’d have to blend it with wool to make the fibre a bit more stable. I also said it would be verrrry expensive! (thinking at least £10 an oz - Gina’s mum has offered to pay me, as a christmas present for Gina - but I’ve no idea what a fair price would be?).

I’ve just plyed the first ounce or so with wool - and I reckon it’ll shed like beggary. Interesting experience though! It’s a light ginger colour and it’s turned a light fawn with the white falklands merino-cross I’ve blended it with. I’ve tried to use a modified long draw (modified coz I’m still a beginner at longdraw) and I added lots of twist to try and bind the fur (sort of double drafting).
It’s coming out worsted weight (very roughly!) and the plan seems to be working. I have washed and thrashed it which has given it a nice halo. It’s surprising how small an amount of wool is needed to help the cat fur along and make it easier to spin - I found I was using less wool to blend as I went along - although I’d say that first 3oz is still roughly 60% wool, 40% cat's fur. Interesting project to do and I’m learning loads: mind you, I wouldn’t have done it if I wasn’t fascinated in puzzling it out, no matter how much money was on offer! and I liked the story behind it.
On another note - managed to upload pic by emptying recycle bin, temp internet files etc etc. This PC is getting so old and slow now. Thanks to Shannon Okey for the tip.
Life is delightfully busy at the moment - I'm starting a shiatsu course this Saturday, finishing my first module of the City and Guilds handknitting course, in the middle of Shannon Okey's online course "Designer101", refreshments coordinator for the Devon Spinners, Weavers, Dyers AND still working 4 days a week. Last week I managed to conceive, sketch out and knit up a design for a shawlette - I'm half way through writing up the pattern. I'm being assisted with the new Intwined software - which is making drawing up the charts much easier than doing them on excel! The Shawlette took one skein of Cherry Tree Hill supersock and looks fabulous - even though I say so myself.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

KNITNATION here I come!

I've just signed up for all three days:
Thursday afternoon: - Bias knitting with Cookie A
Friday morning: Spinning fine, and afternoon: popular wheel mechanics, both with Judith MacKenzie McCuin
Saturday: Camp pluckyfluff ALL DAY!

There's an amazing list of knitting royalty going to be there.

Damn and blast. My computer will no longer allow me to upload pics - I think it's something to do with the virus checker :-(
Whatever - it just goes into freeze mode when I try.
(Loaded the pic on the work pc :-)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


It was so lovely to post on my blog - and get replies - thanks for popping by Heather, Ambermoggie, Rachel and M! (thus I am not alone and woman is not an island?!).

I've been sorting out the admin. for the coach trip to Wonderwool I'm organising on Sunday April 25th - I've hired a 57 seater coach and I've only 4 seats left to fill! Yay! Only problem is that I've got £8 more than I should have - so somebody has paid a deposit but hasn't been ticked off the list - so I'm going to be demanding money off someone who has already paid. Still - would be worse to have LESS money than I should have I suppose. Looking forward to seeing Ambermoggie and Wyesue in the Interactive corner at Wonderwool - there's going to be a meetup of Ravellers there I think. And I can get to have (another) go at longdraw spinning...

Anyway, while I'm sitting here doing this (and reading blogs, checking Rav, and drinking my new favourite comibination of Rooibos and a herby cinammon blend teabag, etc etc), my friend sent me this pic of Syd which made me chuckle.

It almost looks like he could lick the screen, doesn't it? Sara looked after him while I was gallivanting oop SkipNorth since DH won't dogsit. Poor motherless, smelly boy that he is. His mum Tilly died last September and I still miss her so much. Dogs live such short lives.

Gratuitous picture of my Tilly:

Since this post has a doggy theme I'll add this pic too:

This is a pic of WyeSue and Neil's Trigger: - He is an elderly staffy/yorkshire terrior cross and he took a shine to the chocolate muffin totoprype I'd just knitted. I've got to knit a dozen and I'm on my third. Don't ask.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A whistlestop tour to update then back to blogging.

Poor poor blog. Lost my blogging mojo somewhere back in 2009 but I hereby promise I will hop back in the saddle.
There have been so many fibrey doings these past 6months - so much to learn, so little time!
I went on a knitting cruise around the Baltics last August with Nancy Bush and Beth Brown-Reinsell as tutors, accompanied by WyeSue. Have millions of photographs and some great memories. I learned how to do twined knitting and estonian lace and estonian mittens.
When I came back I organised a knitting retreat at Sheldon, which was FABULOUS. Also held another KTOG with the support of the Tea Shop Knitters around the same time.
I've got miles better at spinning and ventured into dyeing.
As a result I'm now the refreshments coordinator for the Devon Guild of Spinners, Weavers Dyers and on the committee, but have dropped off the planet as far as the UK guild of knitting and crochet is concerned.
My own Tea Shop Knitters go from strength to strength and are threatening to fill the Terrace Cafe at Bovey Tracey to the exclusion of all others. We also meet in Ashburton and Moretonhampstead Community Club.
I've been involved in the knitting salon project and am organising a coach to Wonderwool. I have yet to hand in the first module of the City and Guild handknitting course but I'm nearly there.
2010 has also got lots of exciting things in store - this will be the year when I shed excess baggage and achieve some personal goals. So I've joined a psychotherapy group and am about to start a foundation shiatsu course. 2010 started off with a fabulous week in Edinburgh. And last weekend I went to my third Skipnorth. Work gets in the way of all this excitement but I've got to earn some pennies too.

Spinning Silk.
Yesterday I was battling with silk hankies. I have dyed several and I wanted to learn how to spin them. Silk hankies have very strong, long staples. Take it from me, spinning them hurts your hands!

I started with this:
Doesn't silk take up the colour beautifully? This looks positively martian... (or maybe roast tomato sauce?)

Then (having checked out u-tube on the subject and looked in Spin Control for hints) I peeled off a thin layer of hankie...Poked a hole in the middle and pulled...and pulled and pulled until I got a mostly predrafted lot of silk thread. It catches on everything - my hands are quite rough! And it floats in the breeze. I tried making a nest of this roving but that got tangled so I found it easier just to lay it over my lap and on the floor to spin on Lola Lendrum.And this was the result: The thread in the middle is a single - very strong and looks like it would be very easy to use as is, but I plyed the rest. The smaller skein was andean plyed on my spindle as I had a little bit left on the bobbin. This lot weighs only about 10g but should be OK for a little bit of lace knitting.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tiffin taught me how to crochet in Edinburgh last week, so i bought a big sparkly size 10 hook and some super bulky 'Gedifra' Byzanz from McAree Brothers knitting shop and crocheted myself a big scarf - finishing it on the flight home. Instant gratification - it took all of three hours to make. After a bit of mucking about, I chained 11 stitches and then double crocheted until the yarn ran out, making sure I had enough left over to add 10 inches of fringe.
Went to put it on Ravelry and, while I was there, checked out the other 'Byzanz' projects - as you do - and I found the SAME SCARF! (Even down to the same length fringe!). AND Drew-o-Rama crocheted it in the air on a flight to Paris. Spooky. Well, the colours are a tad different, but I didn't want to spoil a good story by being picky.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Welcome 2010

Lost my blogging mojo somewhere there in 2009. I stalled mid-rant, writing an essay about an incident in my job too long ago to remember - well nearly. It WAS an incident that tested all the values I hold dear about midwifery so I WILL finish it one day.

So - here we are in 2010 and a fresh new start. Happy Knitterly Knew Year all of youse...
Here I am in a snowy Edinburgh and what a place to start the New Year in - thanks to Chris and Lynn for having me.

I am LOVING Edinburgh: the skylines are amazing, as the city has so many ups and downs - tenement flats have lines of chimney pots on top, and the castle looms over everything - and the sun sets over the back of it and sets the rooftops on fire… The snow just adds to its beauty. I’ve visited the BP portrait exhibition and wondered up the Royal Mile. I’ve also visited the Grass market and had soup and bagels in the ‘Elephant and Bagels’ cafe. Tomorrow I’m going to visit my old friend in the Kingdom of Fyfe (she lives in Tayport), so I’ll be travelling by bus across the Firth of Forth!

I had to get my knitting fix in so I visited the Craf-Tea Tree Tea House Knitters. This knitting group was really well attended - it must be HUGE when the weather is good - and the average age of knitters is half ours! The famous Ysolda was in attendance - she is really very talented and was wearing several of her own designs (that FIT) as well as the owl jumper (which looked cute on her). Nat was also there (my skipnorth friend from the Yarn Yard) and I succombed and bought SIX (yes, 6) skeins of her own dyed merino fingering weight yarn to do some more colour work. I’m thinking fingerless mittens. Lots of. (My entire 'Never Finish a Book' club want a pair of Nancy Bush Estonian mitts each - so that's a dozen I have to finish by this time next year). Buying this yarn means I have already broken one of my many new year resolutions (I repeat, ALREADY!).

There were 12 other knitters and crocheters there: including Tiffin (aka Liz) who taught me to CROCHET! She assured me that there are ONLY FOUR STITCHES - 'scuse the shouting, but I’m a teensy weensy bit disbelieving here. I demonstrated the four stitches to her satisfaction, and - who knows?- maybe this will be the year I actually crochet something other than just a trim for my knitted things. (I did crochet a granny square blanket when I was a nipper - but that was a long, long time ago!). Liz was crocheting (very rapidly) one of those anigarumi things (sp?). I don’t generally like crocheted fabric - but she was using an indigo cotton like yarn and it looked cool.

Last year was full of fibre. I'm hoping this year will be the same - XXX