Friday, December 21, 2007

A very merry one!

Happy Christmas one and all.

No I'm not drunk, just trying to look a little animated whilst I model the hat I've knitted myself. I wore it round the warehouse yesterday with a safety pin holding the end, then frogged half of it last night to improve the shaping and now I'm happy with it. Folk at work said it needs a pom pom, but I'm just not a pom pom kinda girl, so that's it, finished!

(An' I warn you Ro, I'm going to be wearing it at the London Irish game after Christmas!!) Ho Ho Ho!!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bag stuff

Well I finished knitting the bag (did I mention the bag? I can't remember) and I'm disappointed in how little it has felted (though not particularly surprised!). However there is an up side to it in that the straps stretched out all skinny and were neither use nor ornament and I was able to frog them.

I've washed the yarn and hung it up to dry and I'm going to re knit it into straps held together with the Adriafil Graphic from stash that I used round the top. I'm very pleased with the colour match between the two. The Graphic has more wool and has felted better so should make the straps more sturdy. I'll keep you posted.

The second bit of excitement is that I've had a very nice chap round this morning looking at my hedge (see picture). This picture is taken from my back bedroom window where the computer lives and as you can see, it's a bit out of hand.

Every year I get a snotty letter from the council telling me off because it's encroaching on the pavement, but I'm more concerned about the height of it. Anyhoo this chap is going to cut and lay it for me which is a technique used on agricultural hedges in order to make them stockproof. It involves partially cutting through the main trunk of the plant and bending it down so it's laying at an angle which encourages new shoots to form from low down making the hedge bushier at the bottom.

There's rather more to it than that, but that's basically how it works. Anyone interested can get more info here.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Woooooo Hoooooo!! Holiday time!

Well, off work anyhoo. I'm not doing anything as dramatic as going away (haven't planned it anyway). In fact I've only just got back from Ro's for the weekend.

I decided to take the scenic route home. We went into Fosse Park yesterday and I bought two knitting magazines; "Simply Knitting" and "Knitting". I had to buy them both because I couldn't decide which one to get!! It does irritate me a bit that they have them done up in plastic bags so that you can't see what you're getting for your money until you've shelled out!

Anyway I wasn't expecting too much; buying UK knitting magazines is SUCH a triumph of optimism over experience, but there were a couple of things that I may knit so I wasn't too disappointed. I think the thing that bothers me most about them isn't necessarily the patterns which DO seem to have improved a bit, but the desperately condescending way that they're written.

"Interweave Knits" is a grown up magazine for grown up people who are interested in knitting. If they have an article about a knitting related topic it's properly researched and written, but the articles in both the above magazines seem to be simply there as padding. They don't appear to want to challenge the reader in any way, as if what they're writing about it beyond our fluffy little brains. As an example, an article on podcasts included the line "Don't be put off by the odd name, or the fact that you may have to get your computer to do something new for you." Heavens to Betsy, we aren't bloody five year olds. I know that not everyone is familiar with technology but it would be good if they could assume a certain level of intelligence in their readership.

Anyway I'm rambling somewhat. The point is that I was looking at the adverts in the back and decided to take the scenic route back up to Huddersfield and take in a new yarn shop (purely in the interests of research you understand). So I set off for New Ollerton near Sherwood Forest. (No I'd never heard of it either).

On the way I saw a number of signs to Melton Mowbray and recalling that there was a fairly new yarn store (as well as a famous pork pie shop!) there I decided to take a detour. I made this decision AFTER passing the turning to Melton Mowbray, so I just took the next turning instead. Ten minutes later I was in a village with no idea where I was. But that's okay, gotta map book and with a map book you're never lost (honest Dee, it's true!) you may not know where you are, but you're not lost.

The shop in Melton is called Purl (2, Bowley Court, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire LE13 1XY
Tel: 01664 566347. no web site
) and it seems a nice shop. Good selection of yarns there, some more unusual ones including the Araucania range, as well as the more obvious Rowan, Debbie Bliss, Sirdar etc. and the people seemed friendly though both were busy when I went in. I managed to resist the temptation to buy anything and continued on my way. Have to admit that I took in the famous pork pie shop too.

I was surprised to meet a colleague driving a SUMA truck coming the other way whilst zooming up the A46, though I suspect not half as surprised as she was to see me. We waved! I got to New Ollerton and found Heath's Country Store without too much trouble. My gosh, what a surprise. In addition to yarn they have a quilting section in the shop, but it doesn't matter because despite not looking large from the front it goes back miles so there's plenty of room for both. They had some absolutely gorgeous yarns as well as loads of LOVELY felted bags and examples of the various yarns knitted up into garments. They had the most amazing selection of buttons for sale and I seriously want to move to New Ollerton despite the fact that apart from this shop it looks like a complete hole in the ground (sorry if anyone who loves the place is reading this).

This shop is well worth a visit! Even if you have to go out of your way to do so (and believe me you will have to). I managed to escape quite lightly only buying three balls of Sirdar Peru; a wool/ acrylic/ alpaca blend which I'm told will felt nicely. My only criticism is that they sell smelly stuff too, like incense etc. which I'm not keen on and the place pongs a bit, but I realise most people look on this as a good thing rather than a bad.

Friday, November 02, 2007


Heart sachet. I actually finished the knitting last weekend but didn't stuff it and sew it up until last night. I'm not mad keen on the colour! Technical details can be found here (possibly). Please can someone let me know if the link doesn't work .

Luckily we sell dried lavender as mine in the garden is way past it and would be no use to anyone. Unfortunately we sell it in 500g bags so I have quite a bit left.

Anyone want to score some lavender?

I may be making lavender bags for some time yet!

I have all of next week off work (hurrah!!), but haven't decided what to do with the time yet. depends a lot on the weather. If it rains it may be inside (even in bed) stuff all week. If it's fine I may venture out. We shall see.

Last week end I made my christmas cake, dosed it liberally with brandy and put it into hibernation for a month or two. I love christmas cake.

(Crumbs I just remembered I bought some little onions last weekend too for pickling, best get on with that too!)

I'm sure that I'll find plenty to get on with.

ps I've just been reminded from reading Tutleymutley's blog that I was astounded to realise as a result of a discussion on Ravelry about copyright that a book I bought for £1.99 at the Oxfam shop is selling for £60.00 second hand on Amazon. Amazing!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

who would have thought

That such a small project would be such a pain in the bum?

This is the heart sachet from Knitting Daily. It measures about three inches by three inches and I thought it would be a nice little project to get on with as a bit of a potboiler.


I've not done domino knitting before (though I have done mitred squares) but it didn't look too complicated. Of course I have to admit that it can help, particularly if you're trying a new technique to READ THE INSTRUCTIONS FIRST! And I may have had a warning when I read that someone had started it with the yarn and needles recommended but given it up and re started with larger needles and thicker yarn.

But no, I just jumped in. I have now frogged it at least twice and tinked back a number of times and I may just be on the home straight. I took it to the co-op meeting last night and it kept me entertained (knit, knit, knit, tink, tink, tink!).

Only four more squares to go!

I've also been (not) spinning some of the Manx Loaghtan fleece. I weighed it out in 100g lots with measured amounts of commercially dyed merino, and I've blended one lot on the carder. I've even spun nearly a bobbin full but then I came to a full stop! Haven't had the wheel out for a while now and it's sitting looking reproachful.

Maybe later today!

I just want to make it clear that the picture is the one that appears in Knitting Daily with the pattern, not my sad effort!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Still here

No, not here as in my truck outside this Hotel in Bourton on the Water, here as in still alive.

You may have thought that I'd disappeared but no, I'm still here. having a hard time finding things to blog about as mostly I've been doing stuff in my head rather than in real life. So, no knitting to show I'm afraid.

I did go to Sileby for my bra making workshop last Friday though so I have one finished object to show.

Okay before everyone runs screaming from the room I'm NOT wearing it. I realise that there are sites that cater to people who like to look at that sort of thing (fat birds in bras) but rest assured gentle reader, this is not one of them. So here's my first home (well nearly) made bra. It aint fancy but it FITS!!! AND it looks like a bra too. Some of the stitchings a tad wonky but considering how long it is since I last used my sewing machine I think that I (and it) did a pretty good job. Now I'm well keen to make some more.

What do you think of the fabric that I've pictured it on? It's a vest top which I bought when I was a good deal thinner than I am now, so alas it no longer fits. Certainly enough fabric in it to make a bra though (but not matching knickers). I'm looking at stretch fabric from a whole new perspective nowadays.

Isn't life fun!?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Completed socks

Last weekend I went down to Ro's. I travelled on the Friday as I was going to have my fitting for my bra making class in Leicester. Michelle, the woman who is taking the class was very nice and turned out to be a Tigers fan too, so as well as the fitting we had a bit of a chat about rugby. We were both looking forward to the Tigers' first home game of the season the following day (in which they beat Baaaaath which is always nice!!).

I finished my socks on Monday and wore them for my run this week. I was a bit unimpressed with the finished result at first as I thought the Trekking XXL was a bit harsh feeling at first, but I have to say that they were very comfortable to wear. They should stand up to some work too, which is good. I'm sure angora socks are fine and dandy but I wouldn't think they'd be up to wearing in big steel toe capped boots on a regular basis.

Got this picture on Wednesday morning in Bourton on the Water when I rolled out of the truck. I'm not sure how well I've captured the light which looked amazing on the leaves of the trees against the dark of the sky. My run was quite busy this week and I didn't get back to the yard until gone seven o'clock on Wednesday night. I was pretty tired! Glad I have Fridays off, particularly this week as I'm going in on Saturday for the stock take.

On Sunday last weekend we went to an open day at Claybrooke Mill, one of the oldest working water mills in Leicestershire. I took the opportunity to do a little sales pitch to one of the stallholders there on behalf of SUMA and took his business card to pass on to our "new sales prospects" team. I also bought some raffle tickets for the Air Ambulance. Imagine my delight when I got a call on my mobile on Tuesday to tell me that I'd won eighth prize; a meal for two at the Ullesthorpe Court Hotel. I thought that for an eighth prize it was pretty good. Dunno quite when I'll get round to using it, but I'm sure I will. I sent Ro to collect the tickets as I'm not down there for another week or so and I didn't want them to think I didn't want it. Suppose I'll have to take her with me as she has custody of the tickets!!!

I'm off to do some carding now. I bought myself a set of digital scales this morning as I want to do some blending and I want to get the quantities right.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

So much going on

So I'm going to start with a gratuitous kitty shot. These three are a mother and two of her (three) kittens who appeared at work earlier this year. We think that the mother was a kitten here last year and she's been living wild about the place. When her kittens were old enough she brought them out into the open where we sit out and have lunch when the weather is good.

They've got themself a nice little nest next to the pond and they sit and sun themselves. Mum was captured earlier when the kittens were big enough to look after themselves and taken to the vet to be spayed. The other kitten has been captured and taken to live with one of the SUMA workers and the other two are going in a few days time to live with another. Mum is still looking for a home. I'm sorely tempted but being away one night a week plus regular weekends makes it impractical.

I've started a new pair of socks which were cast on on Tuesday morning when my truck made a horrible noise and gave off copious amounts of smoke as I drove into Cheltenham. I got a fair bit done whilst I waited at the garage for them to find out what was wrong (they couldn't). Luckily it still seemed to be running so I carried on with my run and there were no further incidents. Garage thought there may be some sort of blockage in the fuel system.

Talking of socks I have to show you how Nick has been getting on with hers. It's a bit difficult to see from this picture but after my showing her how to knit, purl and SSK (and why you SSK in some places and K2tog in others) she proceeded to finish the heel flap, turn the heel, pick up the stitches up one side and down the other and start decreasing round the gusset all by herself! I'm well impressed, she's obviously a "Natural Born Knitter". I told her she should get a T shirt with that printed on it but she said she didn't think people would be impressed. I told her that Muggles may not be, but the people that mattered most certainly would!

Last item on Show and Tell is this yarn gauge that I made for myself last weekend. It's the second one I've made as I gave one to Ro a while ago but forgot to take a picture of it first. It's very tactile.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Phew, what a process that turned out to be. Thanks to you all for your feedback on the choice of buttons. The majority went for the buttons on the right hand side, and they were my choice too. Unfortunately Cris was right (typical bloody man) and they were too small.

Soooooo, this morning I went into town to have another look in the charity shop and failing that to go to the shop in the Queensgate Market that sells such things. It's called the Sewing Box and they have a good selection of buttons amongst other sewing stuff.
And these are the ones that I chose in the end. Lovely.
Here's a picture of the finished cardigan on me.
And here's one of it on the floor. I think it suits me better than the floor, but I couldn't get a particularly good picture.
I took it in to work yesterday and nearly lost it to a colleague who tried to run off with it. Luckily I managed to catch her and wrestle her to the ground before she escaped.
In reply to some of the questions on my previous post; it wasn't difficult to knit with hand spun, it was quite nice wool to knit with (she said modestly) I'll put that down to the sheep rather than me though. I plied three singles together as I'd read that this creates a better yarn for knitting and it came out at about 12 WPI.
I found a link to the pattern on Abby Franquemont's blog Abby's Yarns though there are a couple of other people on Ravelry that are knitting it. I knitted the medium size and just had enough of the light coloured wool to complete it, to the extent of missing the last two rows at the neckline and breaking off the tails of yarn under the arms to complete the last row!!! I have nearly a whole ball of the dark grey left though. It's a tiny bit tight on my butch truckers arms but apart from that I'm happy with the fit. The only adaptation to the pattern that I made was that when cabling I cabled to front on one side and to the back on the other which the pattern didn't specify. This was probably a tad anal of me.
I got a text from a friend yesterday telling me a balloon with 90 on it had landed in his garden and it had come all the way from Formby.
I was quite excited at this being a big fan of balloons, in fact I took a picture of this one that had just taken off in Bourton on the Water when I parked the truck up on Tuesday night. Imagine my disappointment when he revealed that it was only a party balloon that had landed! He said that the old boy who'd released it was quite excited when he rang him to tell him where it had landed though.
I had quite an exciting run this week as I met the Tour of Britain going over the Malvern hills on Wednesday. Unfortunately going through the Wyche Cutting I met an Eddie Stobart truck with a trailer on the back coming in the other direction just as the race had passed and floods of spectators were attempting to get back to their cars. I managed not to run over any spectators despite the road being particularly narrow and windy at that point but managed to take out one of the barriers or flags or something and bent the under run bar on the truck! RATS!!!!
Finally here's a picture of the little beggars that are trying to destroy my house. It has wood cladding on the top half and wooden window frames (mostly) and I think they come for the insects that live in the cracks. I'll be sitting at the computer of lying in bed and I'll hear a tap, tap, tap, tapping noise; and there they are! Cheek!
ps, you may need to click on the picture, apparently you can't see who (or what) is destroying the house otherwise.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Another difficult button decision

There you go, Sprout is now finished (bar blocking) but I can't decide which buttons. So I'm asking you!

Friday, September 07, 2007

The fifth emergency service

(I believe that the coast guard is the real fourth) and I am the fifth this weekend; emergency sock back up.

I bought some sock wool and needles at Playful; the toy shop on Gloucester Road and gave it to my friend at work who wants to learn to knit socks, along with the basic sock pattern that came with the yarn. She's recently discovered that she's getting a rash from her bought socks and thinks she may be allergic to elastic. She has knitted before, but not for a while and "never got on with purl" so we've adapted the pattern to a sock with a rolled top a la Crusoe, rather than a ribbed top (I'll worry about the heel flap when we get to it!). When she dropped me off at home after work yesterday we'd got as far as the second round. Her husband and son were out for the evening and she was looking forward to some quality time with her sock! I told her that if she needed any help to give me a ring or pop up and I'd help her but as I haven't heard anything I assume that things are going well.

My current work in progress is "Sprout" by Amy King (Spunky Eclectic). I'm knitting it in the yarn that I spun from the Bleu de Maine Fleece from Yorkshire Woolybacks.

I'd got to the bit where the sleeves are joined to the body before I realised that there be cables!! Hey I never won prizes for being observant! We're coping though, and I'm pretty pleased with progress so far, had a two hour meeting first thing Monday morning at work and made significant progress then.

It's funny but I find that if I'm knitting in a meeting I feel that I have to take an active part in said meeting so people realise that I'm not just knitting but paying attention too. If I'm just there I tend not to make as many comments as I don't have to prove I'm concentrating on what's going on. I think people are pretty used to it now, no-one comments unfavourably (at least not to my face).

I had my annual member review at work yesterday and was on the whole pretty happy with the feedback I received from my colleagues. I did get a couple of people who said I should do more driving, and another who said that I should do more desk based work and less manual work so I'm probably getting things about right on the whole!

Oh I forgot to mention that I've received my invitation to Ravelry and I'm called Tigggr (couldn't be knit-tigger as you can't have hyphens!). My notebook's a bit empty at the moment, but I'll get there eventually I guess!

Friday, August 31, 2007

It just felt right.

Well now. I've just pulled the bag out of the washing machine where it's been along with my work clothes (40 deg) and it's felted very slightly. This is good as the texture has remained, but I think it's probably a bit stronger. It may still require lining though. I'll just have to see how it goes. I decided on the randomly shaped wooden button for it as suggested by Miss Janelle in last week's comments. Thanks Janelle.

I did start to crochet a mat in the remaining wool but haven't got very far with it yet. I bought a new TV a while ago and it sits on a large wooden chest in the living room. Sometimes the sound seems to reverberate a bit and I think it may need some damping so I thought I'd do a mat for it. Good crochet practice.

This week I went to exciting new places as we lost the driver of our Shropshire / Gloucestershire run at short notice. I had five drops from Shrop/Glocs put onto my run (which luckily was not too busy). So having finished all my regular drops and pick ups on the Tuesday I set off from Bourton on the Water on Wednesday morning for new horizons.

My first drop was a deli and wine bar in the village of Newnham on Severn called Hunter & Todd which looked very nice. The second drop was a cafe just over the road from there called the George Cafe which as well as the cafe contained a lovely surprise. A weaving studio.

I couldn't resist asking if I could take some pictures of the studio and was told that I could, so here they are. Unfortunately none of the weavers was there so I wasn't able to find out more about what they do, or where they're from. When Jeannie, the regular driver gets back from her hols I'll have to ask her about it.

After Newnham I went to a trading estate in Newent then up to Ross on Wye to a wholefood shop Field Fayre and a cafe Nature's Choice next door to each other. I'd printed off a map of where they were before leaving so I was confident about finding them. I came off the end of the M50 onto the A40, then took the road down into the town centre. Over two mini roundabouts and into the end of the street where the shops were. I got a bit anxious as I couldn't see a road sign so I pulled over just inside the end of the road to ask if I was in the right place. That was the point at which I was told that the road I wanted was indeed straight ahead but alas it was one way, and NOT the way I was pointing.

I have to tell you that reversing an eighteen ton truck out of the wrong street across two mini roundabouts (traffic approaching from at least five different directions) is not to be recommended as a method of reducing blood pressure. People can be remarkably unhelpful as even with my hazards on as well as my reversing lights and warning bleeper it took ages for someone to actually stop and let me out even though I was coming towards them. Once I was out it all became much easier and though the centre of Ross on Wye is a bit tight and crowded I did get to where I wanted to be and even managed to score a parking space opposite the shop, (a big bonus when you have to carry stuff).

Saturday, August 25, 2007

F.O. (well almost)

Here's the bag I finished crocheting last night. It's an adaptation of the pattern for the Horse Around Purse by Carol Ventura from Crochet Me Magazine. In actual fact I only used the shaping and not the tapestry technique. I've made the bag out of the yarn that I spun from the Haldane roving that came with my Orkney (plus some on the bottom from a fleece I prepared myself, can't remember which one!). The Haldane was a bit compacted and strangely "bitty" but it's probably quite old and I managed. I spun it up and plied it on the Orkney.

Once I started working with it I realised that it's quite underspun and underplied too and a bit thick and thin so I'm considering felting the bag to give it a bit more strength. It's fairly dense fabric anyway as the whole bag is done in single crochet so it probably won't shrink an enormous amount but I feel that it would mean that any weak spots would be strengthened, and you don't really need weak spots in a bag. In a way it's a shame as I like the texture of the bag and I know that felting will lose that.
I also need to choose a button for the fastening. These are a selection of the possibles. I guess it's going to depend partly on how much the loop shrinks when (if) I felt it. If I don't felt it I'm going to need to block it as the strap has a tendency to curl at the edges.
I quite like this bag, and people at work like it too. They seemed quite interested, lots of them asked what I was knitting!! One asked if I took orders, I said that I didn't as she couldn't afford it but I'd teach her to crochet for free. She declined though!
One of my friends is keen to learn to knit socks though as she has found that she seems to be allergic to the elastic in bought ones. I'm going to put together a kit for her to get started.
As if I haven't enough hobbies on my plate I've signed up for a bra making course in Leicester at the beginning of October. The course is run by Michelle Pye and is for one day. I tried to book it a couple of weeks ago but it was full, luckily for me she's had a cancellation and I'm in!
I noticed a few months ago that I was getting a bruise under my left arm where the wiring in my bra was rubbing and it occurred to me that although I'd put on a significant amount of weight I was still wearing the same bras. After taking a long hard look at myself I also realised that I had bulges over the tops of the cups on my bra. Now I just HATE to see this, I think it looks as if women are trying to look smaller than they are but of course it just makes you look like a slattern (great word!) and so I went to get re measured and buy me some new bras. Unfortunately I seemed to catch M&S at their busiest time so although I got measured I didn't get any help with fitting and I couldn't find anything that fit me. I left feeling fat and depressed and continued to squeeze into my old bras. I have since succeeded in having two successful shopping trips one to BHS and one to M&S where I've managed to get some bras that fit. But at BHS I tried on EIGHT different bras, all the same size, and only TWO of them fitted me.
So I've decided that I may try making my own, that way you can get a bra that you like, that fits you AND you can have matching knickers too if you want. I've found a blog run by and for lingerie makers. It's called Bra Makers and I've put the link in my sidebar as well as here.
I must admit I did think that everyone would think I was a loony wasting my time making underwear but almost EVERYONE I've mentioned it to seems to think it's a great idea. (I suspect this is 'cos they think I'm going to make their bras for them but even so!). This just proves to me that yet another one of the more basic things that all women (or nearly all) have to do is a complete pain in the arse!
What a surprise!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Watch this space.....

Hoping there should be an F.O. here tomorrow.

In the meantime, here's a pig I made earlier.

Quite a lot earlier.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Between 5 degrees north and 5 degrees south.

Well yes that's me, languishing in the doldrums, no wind in my sails and not a lot to report. Must be the time of year, I don't think I'm alone in my disinclination for blogging activities.

Last weekend I went down to Ro's and we went to Tigers' second pre season friendly match, which was against Bedford. The first was in Cornwall but that was a little far to go as getting time off work in July and August is a bit problematical unless you book really early (like last year!!!). Chronic shortage of cover drivers (nothing to do with cricket!). It was nice getting back to rugby but a little warm for a game which should really be watched in the teeth of a howling gale with snow falling.


Tigers won the game comfortably (which was to be expected as Bedford are in a lower league than them) and a good time was had by all.

Last night I made a pair of earrings and a matching necklace. I'm wearing the earrings as we speak, but will save the necklace for more dressy occasions I think. I've also done my hair since I took that picture and thusly am less witchy looking now. I'm going into town soon to do some shopping and to visit the Huddersfield Food Festival .

I will try to resist the lure of the Kirkwood Hospice shop at which I am compelled to buy those little round things with holes in of which we are not allowed to speak in front of Ro as she has a phobia about them. (Oh, okay, buttons for those of you who haven't worked it out yet!).

I have been knitting. In fact I've knitted Coachella twice. The first time I misunderstood the instructions and it was too small, the second time it's big enough but I'm not entirely happy about the way it fits. I think it's one of those jobs that looks okay when you arrange it and stand in front of the mirror but as soon as you try to breathe or walk or move your arms it goes funny. So it's sitting in a bag waiting to be frogged or finished. I really need a second opinion but I forgot to take it down to Ro's last weekend.

I've also been spinning (no pictures) more of the Haldane roving which came with my Orkney. This in the second colour, a sort of salmony orange. This together with the brown is destined to become a crocheted bag (possibly). I was even considering a touch of beading on it which is why I got the beads out last night which led to the earrings.

Are you getting a theme here? Bit of this, bit of that? no real planning, nothing getting finished? Zooming off at tangents all over the place? Think a bit of discipline may be in order. We'll see.

for the record Ling has had her baby; a little girl called Zoe, and she's beautiful. Congratulations Ling!

Anyhoo, catch you later.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


I'm afraid I have bad news. This week I was bounced from the Tour de Fleece having tested positive for testosterone. I thought I'd hidden it quite well but as you can see from the picture, I must have forgotten to shave on Wednesday morning. (Thought I was getting funny looks from the customers). I'm hoping to clean up my act before next year but they're coming down pretty hard on this sort of thing this year.

On to better news. I've been slaving over a lukewarm bath this week and can show you the results here. A lovely clean Manx Loaghtan fleece which I bought at Woolfest. Apparently the name means mouse brown in Manx. It's currently drying on the airer in the spare room (computer room/ stash room/ junk room). I have a feeling that this could prove to be a bit of a problem spin; it has a very short staple of about an inch, an inch and a half. More fluffy than woolly. Should be interesting. (Better get on with the Jacob Ro, I'm gonna need the carder for this little lot soon!).

I'm looking for a project today as well, we've got our all day QGM (Quarterly General Meeting) tomorrow at SUMA so if I'm to stay sane I'll require some nice straightforward knitting to be going on with. I'm not sure yet what it's going to be but I'm sort of leaning towards
Coachella from the latest issue of Knitty. I've got some yarn (somewhere) in the stash which I think may work for it so I'll need to find it and swatch today if that's going to work out. Otherwise it's socks.

Thanks for your responses to my last post and the Bleu de Maine yarn. I am ridiculously proud of it and may be doing a touch of swatching of that today as well.

In response to Annie's question there's about 250g in total (plus there's a wee bit more of the white left to spin).

Kath: We do do deliveries to North Wales but that's on Gordon's run. I've never done it, it goes out on the same days that I do (Tuesday and Wednesday).

Ling: Tiger isn't Ro's pony, he belongs to my other sister Annie and her husband (the ones with the cattle). BiL thinks that he's useful for herding the cattle and on last weeks evidence he could be right. (ps have you had that baby yet???)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Well here at last is the result of my labours during the Tour de Fleece so far. I'm really pleased with the end product. This is the Bleu de Maine that I bought last year. I separated it into the darker and lighter parts of the fleece and carded and spun them separately. I've plied three singles together as I read somewhere (can't remember where) that this makes for a yarn which knits up better. It's certainly more rounded than the two plys that I've spun previously. It seems more even as well.

I have in mind a cardigan knitted on largeish needles so it's a bit lacey but I'm not sure if I'll have enough. I must do all the weighing and measuring and wraps per inch dohickey so I can work it out, but I can't be arsed at the moment.

At the weekend I went down to Ro's as she wanted to borrow my drum carder to do some more of the never ending Jacob. On Saturday we went out for lunch with Annie (another sister) and then we went for a walk. Ro insisted on taking Tiger who is very well behaved on a lead, a bit like a dog! We went along a gated road through a field of cattle who were fascinated by the proceedings and decided that they'd follow us. It was a bit like grandmothers footsteps. When we stopped and turned round they stopped too, when we walked on they followed us. Spooky!

Friday, July 20, 2007

A quiet week

All round. I'm still spinning along in the Tour de Fleece, though I have to say that the mountain stages have rather taken it out of me this week. I had a few technical difficulties on Saturday last (tension) and my team car was nowhere to be seen. Still, managed to overcome it and have been doing a little each day but it's certainly going slower than last week. I'm working on the darker stuff now and have spun one bobbin of it and am half way through the second.

My run was very quiet this week, I was back in the yard by half past one on the Wednesday. This is in stark contrast to a couple of weeks ago when I did 29 hours in two days (talk about wiped out!). This week was a mere 21 hours, easy peasy. I parked up overnight in Worcester for the first time. The lorry park is right next to the river and the racecourse in the centre of the city. Looks quite scenic doesn't it? I was one of the first to get there, but it soon filled up. I don't think I'll park there again though, it was a bit noisy (there's a railway viaduct running along the side of the parking area and there were trains going over quite regularly). Luckily I have my earplugs with me so I slept okay.

My roof is finished and waterproof (I think). Should get to find out today, forecast is for two months worth of rain in the next twentyfour hours (oh joy!!). And I'm driving down to Ro's this afternoon, hope I don't get washed away in the deluge. I'm taking my wheel so I can carry on spinning and the drum carder so that Ro can card some more of her Jacob fleece and get on with her bag. I should also take the Montego Bay Scarf which has hit the wall about two inches from the end.

Get and finish it girl!!!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Tour de Fleece

I've decided that I'm going to dedicate my "Tour de Fleece" to Marco Pantani "The Pirate"; one of the greatest of hill climbers of all time and winner of both the Tour de France and Giro D'Italia in 1998.

I chose to spin up the Bleu de Maine fleece that I bought from Sandie at Yorkshire Woolybacks last year (I felt that the name of the breed was sufficient "French connection"). I'd already prepared the fleece for spinning and carded it when I bought my drum carder so I was all ready to roll when the Prologue began last Saturday.

This fleece is an absolute joy to spin, it practically does all the work itself. I'm spinning it long draw on my Orkney and had decided to spin onto the three Orkney bobbins then ply the three singles on the Elizabeth (I have to be able to justify having two wheels!). The fleece is lively and springy and handles beautifully and the whole of the Prologue just flew by.

Day two was more of the same for me, though the real Tour was out on the open roads of Kent. The weather was terrific, the English countryside was looking beautiful and the sprint at the end was as exciting as anything I've seen with Robbie McEwan coming from nowhere to take the stage win.

By Monday the Tour was on French soil (if only briefly) with the majority of the day's stage happening in Belgium. I was beginning to feel the strain of the first couple of days by then and coasted along in the peleton, happy not to loose too much time by sticking with the main field. I was far enough back not to get brought down by the nasty crash just before the end of the stage and although we were all held up by it no-one lost time as it was within 3k of the finish.

Tuesday was an enforced rest day I'm afraid. It's going to be throughout the whole Tour as I drive on a Tuesday and Wednesday so I'm not only sleeping in the truck on a Tuesday night and have no room for my wheel but after an early start and a fifteen hour day I don't have the energy to do anything but eat and sleep at the end of the day.

Got home nice and early on Wednesday though so put in some extra spinning time that afternoon. I was delighted when I got home to find a man on my roof (regular readers will know that I've been awaiting this for some time). No it wasn't Santa it was John; the roofer. With a bit of luck I'll be able to remove the empty containers that I've had sitting around catching drips when it rains, any day soon.

Thursday I completed the last of the three bobbins. I was going to ply them today, but I couldn't wait so last night I began. This is the first skein. It looks overplied, but I know that when I've washed it and hung it to dry it will be fine.

I'm really pleased with the way it's turning out. It really is the most beautiful wool. It has an almost pearly sheen to it and I believe that it will fluff up nicely when finished. The main colour is white but it has touches of fawns and greys. I have a few batts which are darker in colour and decided to spin these separately rather than card it all together. I'm hoping to use the different shades as a feature in whatever I make out of the finished yarn.

My only concern is that I'm failing to pace myself and I'll run out of fleece before the end of the Tour and be forced to withdraw. Still, this is my first Tour and it's no disgrace not to finish it.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Where to begin?

I'm sure you all know why I haven't blogged for a wee while? Yup bin away in Cumbria for a couple of days. My excuse for not getting back to y'all sooner was that I've been at work since then (almost constantly, or so it feels!)

So Woolfest. As the title says, "where to begin?". Well thought I'd do it in pictures as I took so many. These are just a small sample from the weekend.

Swaledales at Priests Mill off for a walk in the rain. (They may not be Swaledales they may be Rough Fell).

The Wool Clip, organisers of Woolfest (hurrah!!!).

From the Watermill Cafe at Priests Mill Caldbeck.

View from our bedroom window at Byresteads B&B, Friday evening? Lovely B&B & full of fellow fibre addicts. We've booked again for next year (thought it wise as four others already had!). Oh and Als, we've booked a room for three next year!

Ro (with back to camera) choosing a fleece. She persuaded me to share a Leicester Longwool with her.

Llamas in a field above Mitchells Lakeland Livestock Centre (seen on our way to the farm shop and cafe up the lane). We'd seen the sign by the roundabout as we drove in so decided to walk up there for lunch on the Friday. It was a tad further than expected, but worth the walk.

The spin in (highlight of the weekend). This was just amazing. We met some lovely people including Catherine and Susan who had flown over from Ireland to be there. Susan is a spinner but didn't have her wheel with her, she was sussing out which kind she wanted to buy (think she's going for the Majacraft). Catherine is a weaver but apparently her son is keen on getting a wheel and learning to spin.

Beautiful designer knitwear by Makepiece of Todmorden West Yorkshire. Ro's got a colleague who is getting married next year and she's going to persuade her she should have one of their dresses.

Silk/angora/mohair knitted knickers by Rose Ashley on the Woolclip stand. (If persuasion in the dress department fails maybe she'd go for a pair of these!)

View from bedroom window Saturday evening.

Hands up everyone that knew Ayres Rock was in Cumbria then?

Young Herdwick sheep in her natural habitat.

We had a fantastic weekend, met loads of lovely people, some whose blogs I read and who read mine (wore me SUMA T shirt so folk could recognise me) and some who were stallholders. I can hardly wait for next year, though we've decided that a practice run at Wonderwool Wales next year may be a good plan! (They're holding it in conjunction with a food festival so I really do think that SUMA should get a stall!!)

Ay Caramba, nearly forgot the stash!!!!!!

Manx Loughtan fleece (mine, all mine!)

500g from a Gotland ewe (currently washed and drying over the airer. It bears a striking resemblance to a furball coughed up by a VERY BIG CAT at the moment! But I'm sure it's going to be fine).

Handmade basket to keep my spinning accoutrements in.

Two lots of Shetland in different colours (yes they are too different!) along with a free bag of samples from Lenice Bell at Todhill Shetlands at Lockerbie (go easy on this link there's loud highland music!). Lenice actually remembered Ro from last year when she bought one of her sheepskins. What a memory!

Two silk caps from P&M Woolcraft. We were told about these by somone who was spinning them at the spin in so we HAD to go back on the Saturday to get some. At £2.25 each it would have been a crime not to. Of course we made most of our other purchases on Saturday too, despite spending from 10-30 am till 5-oopm on Friday there!

And that really is just about it. I hope no-one's computer has crashed under the weight of pictures in my post. See you all next year.