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Preview: KnitKnack PaddyWack Give a Blog a Home

KnitKnack PaddyWack Give a Blog a Home

A general mind drivelling sort of blog where I attempt to share a slice of my chaotic life. Take a snippet of Knitting, a smudge of art, and a huge chunk of the great outdoors, mixed lightly with a touch of midwifing.

Updated: 2016-01-08T16:57:12.792+00:00


My Attic got plastered!


Squeeeee - I'm so excited.  ALL my stash and equipment is going to be stored in orderly and shipshape fashion in the new workshop/studio up in the attic - and it got plastered yesterday!  Now, all it needs are some cupboards, the electrics and light fittings and a carpet - then I'm all set to decorate and move in the furniture!  Really, this is SO exciting.  My dream of becoming a fully fledged knitting designer and teacher is underway.The plaster only takes 4 days to dry and then it can be painted -which is amazingly quick.  The attic space isn't huge - but it will be MINE, all MINE - and how many folk are lucky enough to be able to have their own workshop?  DH is just pleased that all my stash can be squirrelled away from downstairs and he can stand a chance of keeping it tidy.  He always was a better housewife than me.I'm also running a few workshops in the next couple months:In the village - at my good friend Ruth's glorious house up Mapstone Hill - kitchen a la Provence, scrubbed wooden tables, cats curled up in front of (if not IN) the Aga, dresser piled high with eclectic china and OODLES of room - KNITTING 101 - an introduction to the basics.  Starts Wednesday April 17th 10-12am, and runs for 6 weeks.  Very reasonable at £36 per person, minimum of 3 to run, and maximum of 8.  Refreshments provided - bring your own yarn/needles.At the HUB in Ipplepen - two Saturday courses:  the first is on March 23rd 10-1pm and will be all about the magical moebius cast on - the second is on April 20th 10-4pm and will be all about FairIsle/stranded knitting and working with colour.  Refreshments available from the cafe - £16 for the half day, £26 for the full day.Currently working on several Lopi designs but also turning this handspun -  Louet fibre from the P/Hop swop in York last January - into a ruffled, cabled, smoochy 'short row shuffle' shawl.  I had planned to abbreviate all that to 'shoofly' but I discovered on Ravelry that there already IS  a shoofly out there so I'll have to put my thinking cap on for a new name.  The yarn was spun from a pencil roving that had two inch stripes in bright purple/blue/gold all along its length - hard to believe, ay?  It's turned out buttery soft and about DK weight which I'm knitting up on 5mm needles and the pattern is scrumptious and just what it wanted to be.[...]

The Phoenix and 'For the Love of Lopi'.


I retired from full time work as a midwife last November - several reasons, but chief among them was a wish to follow my heart and embrace my woolly obsession.  I want to spin, and knit, and dye and design and teach and spread the word.
Besides that, I could no longer face the on-calls at work - after a night up, it would take me going on three days to recover - and the hospital management expect team midwives to do an 'on call' at least once a week!  Imagine trying to recover from jet lag every single week.  I also noticed many colleagues getting ill - with breast cancer or fatigue syndromes or similar.  Several people I know of have died suddenly - and not just those people who smoke or abuse their health!  Time to live the dream methinks.

Time also to resurrect this blog.

(image) I've got far too many projects on the go - but 'For the Love of Lopi' is currently winning.  Jamie wanted a jumper.  This wish coincided with me doing a Craftsy Course making a top down cardigan in Lett Lopi.  Lopi is an Icelandic wool which is sticky in the same way as Shetland wool, but thick and water repellant and very very warm - ideal for colour work.  This project so inspired me that I felt the need to knit several more.  I've finished a jumper for young honorary grandson Rafe and am half way down the body of the jumper for Jamie (Rafe's father).  I will follow this with a jumper for Charlie, Rafe's mother and Seth, my big handsome son.  A whole family of Lopi jumpers!   By then I might well have had my fill of Lopi.



The camera is here and I'm wading through destructions. Can't wait to try it out - tomorrow, I guess. This new (toy) bit of technology can take really close up pics and has 'intelligent face recognition' ("Well that's YOU out", husband quips, quick as a flash). It can detect when the person you are photographing is smiling or blinking and take the pic or not. It can be set to take serial pics and make them into a panorama, and can take pictures at night and of fireworks. I don't have to adjust aperture or shutter speeds or anything complicated like that - although I CAN do that if I wish. Of course I'm hoping to get some really good close up shots of my knitting and fibre art. And maybe some of my new 'journal spilling'...

Had an odd day at work - arrived too late to catch the baby I'd been called in to Labour Ward for: the mother got on super-shockingly quick so I just got to do the paperwork and clearing up.
But it did mean I didn't have to go out of my way to pick the camera up from the local Comet Store.
I've got three whole days off now to play! (Though I really must draw some alpaca cartoons for Jean).



(image) New Camera! One of the excuses reasons I have made for not updating my blog as often as I want to is that I don't have a working camera anymore. This just won't do, so I'm investing in a new one - that's it sitting on top of this post. I'm picking it up tomorrow - not a digi SLR (my pocket won't extend that far) - but got a good zoom lens and it's big enough that even I shouldn't be able to mislay it.



I can now reveal one of my patterns from the Fresh Designs: Shawls book! (the other one is a toy - which is one of the last books in the series). I designed this Furzeleigh Lane Shawlet with bluefaced Leicester sock yarn from Babylonglegs - but it's truly a one skein project. Thanks to Shannon Okey - aka knitgrrl - for this preview~ doesn't the model look fab? - I love her hair. Check out the 'kickstart' project page for more information.



Good News! I got a letter from my shiatsu teacher Alex this morning - I passed my first year exams - I'm now qualified to give friends and family a really good shiatsu treatment - just got to complete 8 more sessions before I get my certificate. Want to volunteer to be guinea pig? (image) This picture of a scarf blocking on disgustingly pink play mats is the result of a handspun yarn 'round robin' - the scarf has been all round Europe having stripes added by a dozen other knitters! We all started a 'seed' and passed it on - and we all got completed scarves back - interesting ay? It's very snuggly and warm and you too can join in a similar adventure by visiting the scarf journeys forum on Ravelry (THE favourite place to hang out and waste time peruse patterns and probably the one single biggest reason this blog doesn't get updated very often.)

And on behalf of the Spinners, Weavers, Dyers guild and all our various knitting groups, I am organising a coach trip to Wonderwool again this year (for my sins). Not so many takers this year, despite the coach having a loo on board (we were all crossing our legs by the time we got there last year!) Tickets only £20.50 roll up, roooolll up! Coach leaves Bovey Tracey at the ridiculously early time of 06.30hrs on April 10th and we don't get back till 8pm or so. And I won't be buying any more stash. no. I won't.



Patterns about to be published!

I am so excited - I have two patterns about to be published in Shannon Okey's (aka Knitgrrl) ten book 'FRESH DESIGNS' series. I can't show pics until the books come out - but, honestly, it's like being pregnant! I feel like I'm about to give birth!

The Cooperative Press facebook link is here. The concept is fascinating - the Company take all the responsibility to publish the books, photograph, present, promote (that's a lot of alliteration?) - and the designers pay nothing. Then the remuneration comes from Royalties - a third of the profits go to Cooperative Press, and the remaining two thirds gets divided up between the ten designers in each book. So I'll get 'divvie's' once a year - might not be much, but hey! my name will be OUT THERE as an up and coming designer!

We were invited to submit up to three designs for anyone of the following books: shawls, scarves, hats, gloves, mittens, kids' sweaters, womens and mens' sweaters and toys and bags.
I submitted three and got two accepted - a shawlette and a toy. Watch this space!



Happy New Year! And long may we all continue knitting and spinning and creating! Here is a pic of the first handspun (and hand-dyed too, incidentally - in logwood exhaust leftovers from Amanda Hannaford's dyeing workshop at the 2010 Samhain Fibre Retreat) of the year that has already been plyed and transformed into fingerless mitts: I gave the remainder (of which there was plenty) to my good friend and knitting protege, Kate (mummy to Josh and Elliott)February - and I haven't yet posted. But lots of opportunities come my way! This is the time for blowing trumpets - paaaaaaaarp!I have a regular slot on the back of Yarn Maker Magazine - my cartoon has an A4 pride of place. Just like a new mummy, I'm very proud :-) All credit to Dot Lumb for bringing a British Hand Spinning magazine to fruition - January edition out.Last year, I had (the LIZARD) bag pattern published in Yarn Forward. THIS year I am about to have two patterns published in books - Shannon Okey is publishing the 'Fresh Designs' Series and asked for designers to submit a maximum of three - I did so, and got two accepted: a woezel toy and the Furzeleigh Shawl. I'll put up more details when the books are finally on the market - needless to say, I'm very excited. Wrigglefingers and I are getting together to make "TUTLEYMUTLEY AND WRIGGLEFINGERS" - Don't we sound like a couple of Victorian pickpockets? We intend to run (more) affordable fibre retreats - the next one is in Bridgenorth June 3rd - 6th 2011 and will cost all of £95 fully catered (byo knitting, wine, chocolate). More details hereWe're also looking to go round the festivals and teach colour blending and spinning. (vive la art yarn!) - next to be seen at Fibrefest! Ah, Batts, glorious, sparkly batts. Aren't they lush?Speaking of which, I may be running a workshop! or three -I've a friend in the village who has a just purchased a yurt and has a wonderful house and garden. She wants to run courses of various kinds and has dangled this carrot in front of my nose. I'm working on putting an introductory knitting course together.The knitting groups have expanded - we now meet up 4 Sundays every month - two of which are in hired rooms with nuff room for spinning wheels to congregate.I also met a wonderful new knitterly friend in Spin-a-Yarn last week - Hullo Emily (or purlysplendour on Ravelry!) (waves and jumps up and down in excitable fashion). WE were discussing our mutual obsessionspassions when she mentioned the powerful tool for community knitting has become! It's true!Then today I popped in to the Chapel - something I've been meaning to do for a while: It's a wonderful place in Mortonhampstead aiming to bring local crafts and community into sharp focus - why not bring our spinning group to the Chapel, says Annie and Devina? Why not indeed?And I'm getting so many ideas, so much inspiration. I've nearly finished the first year of my shiatsu course - I'm sure this has helped push my creativity buttons and is helping me push towards taking better care of myself, leading a balanced life. Al in all, I can't help feel that I won't be working much longer as a midwife, come what may. which is sad, the end of an era - but heralds exciting new beginnings. It's becoming harder and harder in this economic climate to be the sort of midwife who empowers women, who can build a relationship from the beginning of pregnancy and see a woman all the way through. The pendulum is swinging back to intervention and conveyer belt care. I can't bear it. Roll on retirement - sooner, rather than later.[...]




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. (image)
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. (image)



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



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!



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!



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 UPJudgement: 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![...]



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!



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.



(image) 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.)



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



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.[...]



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 :-)




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: - (image) 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.



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.[...]



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.



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



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: italicizeThings you haven't done and don't want to - leave in plain font1. started your own blog2. slept under the stars - ooo lots of times. Last time was probably when we walked the south west coast path3. played in a band4. 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 afford7. 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 mantis10. sang a solo11.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 child16. 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 france20. 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 1970s23. 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, surprisingly29. seen a total eclipse30. watched a sunrise or sunset - both!31. hit a home run32. 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 community36. taught yourself a new language37. had enough money to be truly satisfied - is it possible?!38. seen the leaning tower of pisa in person39. gone rock [...]