August 30, 2009

Some fibre and some berries

Some colour to brighten up this dull day here in Moggieland.
I decided to have a go at dyeing some fibre for spinning. I read up on the hows and whys of doing so and asked some very knowledgeable friends because I'd read that if you aren't careful it is very easy to felt unspun fibre. I didn't want that to happen, not unless I wanted felt for my femmes.
I soaked the fibre in a mix of citric acid and washing up liquid for a couple of hours. At this time the sun was shining and it was fairly breezy which are ideal conditions for drying fibre.
Did it stay like that? Did it heck as like.
Undeterred I assembled all the ingredients, plastic cover for table? Check
Cling film for wrapping fibre? Check
Dyes? check
Rubber gloves? Check
Steamer? Check
Laid out the fibre on the cling film, a rough S shape, splodged the colours I wanted along the fibre, wrapped up in the cling film and steamed for 25 minutes. Left too cool a little, couldn't wait til it was fully cool I was way too excited to see if it had worked.
Rinsed, fluffed out slightly and Mr Mog put out on line.
Weather changed, grey sky and dull, very cold and moisture in the air. Oh rats, would I end up trying to dry it inside?
As you can see I didn't:)


This was a mixture of red, earthy yellow and dark green. I love the finished fibre and can't wait to try spinning it up.
But this, ah this , it is the bees knees:) My most favourite colours and they blended perfectly. What do you think? It is a mix of electric blue and vivid violet.
The fibre is BFL, my favourite of all to knit with.
Then I did promise you a picture of current progress on my very berry elsewhere jacket so here you go.
Doesn't it remind you of berry feasts, crumbles and fruit fools? Purple stained lips and hands from picking nature's bounty that she gives us at this time of year.
Dark dark purples and plums demanding we try a taste, just one that all too soon becomes dozens. Do you remember stumbling home under large baskets of brambles and elderberries? Do you remember the satisfaction of tasting the crumble your mum, or in my case Nan, made and saying "I picked these"?
I can remember days lying in woodland watching the fruit ripen or so it seemed. Waiting for the first dark berry, eager to taste. Then what seemed the very next day a positive abundance weighing down the branches.
I love the perfumed taste that blackberries give when you simmer them to extract the juice. Well you have to taste it don't you to ensure there is enough sugar?

August 29, 2009

Would you like to see my first yarn?

I've spun my first yarn and I thought you might like to see pictures. It is a long way from perfect but it is all spun by my fair hands and for that I love it.

The fibre was given to me, the fuchsia and turquoise by the kind person who also gave me the wheel. They are merino.
The brown is blue faced leicester from Laal Bear.
I spun the blue first, there are 37 yards here. Very thick and thin but still yarn. You would pay a lot of money to purchase something similar from the likes of Colinette:)

I spun this second and there are 28 yards here, getting better do you think?
I spun this last and there are 48 yards. Looking a bit more like proper yarn maybe?
I haven't set the yarn yet, I just wound it off the bobbins so I could see it in the skein. Great excitement while doing so. I still put too much twist in but hey give a moggie a chance I am a beginner after all.
I've now almost run out of fibre. I love Myrtle, she is such a classy lady and is very understanding of my beginner attempts. I hope to make her glad she has joined our family once I start to spin correctly.
I love the meditative quality of spinning.It slows you down and even though the movements of drafting and spinning the fibre aren't yet second nature I am getting the zen like appeal of it all. It rocks:)
I haven't seen the moon yet this cycle. The weather has been dreadful and we have had overcast or wet nights most of the past 2 weeks. This evening we have had the heating on for 20 minutes to take away the chill as I was frozen despite several layers of clothing and thick socks. Autumn is definitely on the way now and I'm glad. The summer has been a weary one for me. Haven't had many days when I can say the pain was more bearable. Certainly haven't had any pain free days to speak of. I am hoping that the autumn will herald in a period of dry crisp days where my body can have a little respite.
Plus I love autumn. I love the smells , the tastes, the colours and the general energy of the season.
Right I'm off to watch Morse. Pictures tomorrow of current progress on very berry Elsewhere jacket.

August 27, 2009

Rant, charity shops and knitting stuff

We went into the city today on a quest for several things. I hate going into town it is so depressing and usually too busy to move. Today was no different. All the shops are built to an identikit design and have the same companies inhabiting them. Very few quirky or good shops to be seen.
Then also why do people have to walk through you as if you aren't there? Why do they then give you filthy looks if you can't move out of their way?
It is becoming an aggressive time I think. No one smiles hardly and if you say hello or good morning people look the other way. It used to be that when Mr mog and I went on the promenade lots of people would respond to our greetings or indeed smile and say good morning. No longer something that happens. Do we look weird? Do we look as though we will attack them? Who knows .
The other thing about going anywhere now apart from the busy factor, we very rarely meet an English speaking person. It seems that at least 4 out of 5 people here are foreign. We seem to have an incredible amount of East Europeans living here. There are estate agents signs on property for sale or rent in foreign languages, not English. At our local Lidl you very rarely hear an english voice at weekends. Our town is changing fast and not always in a nice way. I wouldn't go out at night here. In fact lots of areas I wouldn't go to in the day either. Not from the amount of foreigners but the amount of sheer aggresiveness and malice that there is.
I know things have to move on but do we have to lose our identity at the same time?

Back to our city visit. Did you know that of approx 8 charity shops only 2 now sell anything to do
w
ith knitting? All the rest don't. This poses the question what do they do with the donated items? Throw them away? They must do if they don't sell them. Maybe it doesn't go with the new fashion image they are trying to project. Do your charity shops have a change of season sale where they reduce things for a day then are into Autumn etc? The stuff they don't or haven't sold goes for rags. What happened to the old fashioned charity shops where you could donate things and know they would sell them? They also quite often had something you needed out the back if not on the shelves.
I NEVER donate to the big charity shops any more. I take anything that I haven't freecycled to our local hospice shop or animal care. All their profits go to the charity NOT on big wages for manager and district managers and flashy cars for district managers. I like to see where my donated goods end up. I am speaking from insider knowledge here BTW I used to volunteer for a large charity many years ago and back then the salaries for the district manager were high and they got a new car every couple of years.
As you can probably guess today wasn't a good one:(

On a completely different note are the Big Issue people cloning their sellers?
We have one lady who sells in the city and no matter where we have been this past few months we have seen her or her double. Not just locally, we even saw her down in Glastonbury 300 miles away. Spooky or what?

August 25, 2009

Meet the new member of our family:)

Please say welcome to the newest member of our family:) Thanks to a very generous fellow yarn enthusiast(thank you Pennie) Myrtle joined our family today.
She has promised faithfully to teach me how to use her so do watch this space. I am so thrilled as I have wanted to try spinning for a while now and this is my chance.
I did have a go many moons ago but sadly the wheel was too small and I think I just wasn't ready.
Myrtle comes with her own accessories and is quite prepared to be patient with me as I learn all about her.

August 23, 2009

An (almost) wordless walk along the canal bank

All of this within just a short stretch of canal









there were dozens of wasps around this nest but I didn't seem to capture any in the picture






Notice the rubbish, sadly a big part of our inland waterways now:(







These pictures were taken at Ellesmere Port last weekend on a very small section of the canal towpath. It is amazing what beauty can be seen

It is a very berry Autumn:)

Once blogger stops playing silly beggars I'll show you some pictures to go with this post. It has so here you go:)
I love the elsewhere jacket pattern as you have probably guessed so I'm making another one. This time the yarn is dyed in luscious berry shades to honour this season.

I also decided to start the new shawl pattern from Ysolda, Damson. Surprisingly enough I'm also making this in berry shades:) I purchased some Violet Green sock yarn from a rav destash and it is perfect for this pattern.

It has rained most of today and it is very windy. While sitting here I can see all the starlings gathering on the roof tops and all the swallows meeting up on the telephone wires. A sure sign of Autumn and that the swallows are getting ready to return to Africa for the winter.
Today I don't blame them at all:) I haven't been over the doorstep, much too sore and much too cold for this moggie.
I've spent some of the day uploading my CDs on the computer so I can add them to the Nano. It is good to have a speedy computer and I love windows 7. It is everything XP was and then a little bit more. I don't like Vista so I was pleased to be able to get this beta 7 on the machine. It officially is released on 22nd October I think and I will be there in the queue for it:)

August 22, 2009

If the leaves are changing colour can Autumn be too far away?

While out this past few days I've noticed quite a few trees with turning leaves, most especially the chestnuts. There has also been a different smell to the air. A mix of damp leaves, soil and stuff for lack of a better word. A smell that to me spells Autumn. Autumn my favourite time of year. A season that tugs at me and says "come outside and enjoy my bounty".
A time of fruiting trees where elderberries dance on the stem and blackberries drop to stain the ground below. Where damsons pucker your mouth when you taste them and their relatives the sloes start to change colour. Sloes, sloe gin - yummy. Although they need frost to make them ready to use.
Apples too are now fattening on the bough, I had my first discovery apple yesterday and it was gorgeous. Then too there are plums, I love plum crumble. In fact I love all the fruits as crumbles it just seems right for Autumn puddings.
Elderberry makes a great rob. A cordial that is perfect for sore throats, colds and as a general pick me up.
I love Keats poem To Autumn and thought you might like to be reminded of it.

TO AUTUMN.

1.

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

2.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

3.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

August 21, 2009

Autumn Elsewhere

The Autumn Elsewhere jacket is finished and I love it. I love the richness of the colours and the way they have knit up.
I love the fact that no one will have anything like this because the colours are ones I dyed up.
I like the mismatched yet toned colourway
I love that it fits me, well it would as I knit it to my size but still

I just love it:)

Birthdays happen to us all

Today is my birthday. I always have a stressful week prior to it happening. Something in my mixed up make up dreads it. It started prior to my 50th when I was convinced I wouldn't get there. Now it is just a case of a week of lows prior. But I made it and here I am:)
I've had some gorgeous cards and gifts. My dear Mr Mog has bought me a new computer which I collect this afternoon. I already have a decent monitor etc so our local computer firm have built me this new tower set up. It has the new windows 7 on it as I didn't want Vista and have heard good things about 7. It is the beta version and I'll (hopefully) be upgrading when it comes out officially in October. My computer is a few years old now and sometimes shows it. It doesn't like to turn on and takes several goes to do so. Our computer bod reckons it is fixable so I am hoping to find someone locally who would like to trade me a spinning wheel for it. A girl can hope can't she? Yes I fancy having a(nother) go at spinning. We will see.
We are going out to lunch with DD and partner and my grandsons. Haven't planned anything else for today as that will be enough with current health stuff. I woke this morning with a tremendous stitch or pull that goes clean from my neck to my shoulder blade and lung area. Not comfortable at all.
But enough of the depression. The sun is shining, it is new moon and it is my birthday. Fun fun fun:)

August 18, 2009

A low day

We had a trip to Cheshire this past weekend. I'd already arranged it for Mr Mogs birthday before the Quo thing came up so we went. It was ok but a few niggles took some of the fun off it. We also did hardly any of the things we had planned due to it still being school holidays.
Reminder to self NEVER go away again in the school holidays. What a nightmare, everywhere was totally crowded, the motorways were jammed and also the other roads. We went from plan A to plan B to plan C and never got to any of them.
BUT it was good. I'm low today. Some of it is tiredness, nay more weariness than tired I think, I have no energy and feel yuck. One of those days where tears are very close to the surface.
I usually get a little bit this way when my birthday approaches, not sure why. Maybe the passing of another year and not being any healthier. My joints hurt more and more and it doesn't make me smile.
It is new moon Thursday and I am hoping that will herald in more positive energy as Leo makes it self known. I am a Leo after all so surely it should share some of its energy with me?
I have been knitting and I'm on the final stages of my third Elsewhere jacket. The one done in autumn shades. I love it and I hope you will once it makes its appearance within the blog.
Not much else to say really, don't want to depress you lot:)

August 13, 2009

Yarn love affairs(or not) and happy birthday Mr mog:)

I was perusing a destash thread on Ravelry today that included Colinette yarns. I saw it and passed on to the next message.
At one time the mere mention of Colinette yarns would have had me interested, but no more. I am not sure if it was the abundance of knots in the yarn, the mismatched colour when they tied new strands on or the short yardage on the jitterbug that soured my love affair. Any and all of those I think.
At one time Colinette yarns used to be the one to go for. Her colours were, and still are, exquisite. Sadly nowadays ,for me at least, the quality control seems to have totally gone to pot. Several skeins I've had have been knotted, not just one knot but several:( The colours leach when I am knitting, all marks of a beginner in yarn dyeing not a long established firm.
I still love the old skeins of mohair I have in my stash but wouldn't buy more. This is just my opinion based on the yarns I've purchased over the past too many years to remember.
A lot of indy dyers are doing much the same style of colours as she is, she is no longer the only one.
I know also that as I've continued to knit over the years my taste has changed. Am I a yarn snob? Yes maybe. I care what yarns I knit with, I want comfort as the yarn passes through my hands so no cotton and no silk. No acrylic and no chenille. No hasty dyeing where the dyer hasn't rinsed the yarn properly causing stained hands and needles and in some cases skin problems.
I want fabulous lift your spirits colours. I want colours that zing and say "knit me now". colours that resonate within my soul, reflecting the beauty that surrounds us.
I like choosing colours to mix in a dye pot that reflect who I am at that moment and what my muse craves.
I do love indy dyers, I love their enthusiasm and their eye for colour. So have your tastes changed in yarn? What are your favourites? Some day I'd like to try the Sanguine Gryphon yarns and maybe Mama Blue. Not important and not necessary but interesting to give them a go.
On another note;-

Tomorrow is Mr Mog's birthday and as this approaches I thank the Goddess that he is here with me for this auspicious day. I give thanks for his smile and his patience with me when my pain becomes too much and I snap. I give thanks that I finally found my prince after kissing too many frogs. I give thanks that his cancer was caught speedily and that he is being treated for it.
I give thanks that he shares my life with me and always my love
Happy Birthday Mr Mog.

August 11, 2009

What did you do at the weekend?

What exciting things did you do at the weekend? I took Mr Mog here to see this group as a birthday surprise.

I always think of this area as the Isle of Apples and as you can see it is aptly named.Isle of Avalon does mean just that, isle of apples:)
We were very lucky with the weather. It had rained right up to Thursday evening but Friday dawned fair.

We didn't have any rain at all , in fact it was rather too warm on the Friday for my liking. Lots of water helped though.

The shops here are quirky to say the least and they always send me home brimming with creativity and wanting to express some of the colours within my artwork.
Doesn't she remind you of Lydia?
Can you see the Green Man in this tree trunk, he is winking at you:)





We both love Glastonbury and haven't been since before Mr Mog started radiotherapy last spring so we were long overdue a visit.
Mr Mog loves the music of the Quo so it seemed an ideal gift for his significant birthday this week. It took me months of trying to get tickets as they were sold out as soon as they became available but thanks to the positive vibes from many friends and the power of the Internet I managed to get 2. I told him last Monday before his latest oncology appointment that he would be Somerset bound on the Friday. Guaranteed to take your mind of oncology appointments that was:)
It wasn't easy planning it, all the B&Bs in the town were fully booked for the weekend of the Extravaganza but eventually after dozens of emails I found a delightful place in Street just 2 miles from Glastonbury. We would definitely stay there again , we were made very welcome and the room was gorgeous.
Friends of ours were also going down for the concert so we met up with them on the Friday when we got down there. I always enjoy the atmosphere in the town. I start to search the horizon as we come off the motorway at Bridgewater and there is always great excitement when the first glimpse of the Tor is spotted.
With all the sights sounds and smells you know when you have arrived. Old hippies by the church, incense drifting from all shop doorways. Yes Glastonbury est ici.
No matter how many times I come to visit what I think of as my spiritual home it still makes my pulse race.
Why do I leave it so long between visits? I think this place will always call me and always tug at my heart.
Saturday evening soon came round and it was time to wend our way to the abbey grounds for the concert. Us and many thousands more it seemed.

We took water and chairs but there were many with tables, chairs and picnic hampers. One couple we saw had a dining table set with white linen, crystal glasses and silver candelabra. another world:)
The support act were Bjorn Again, an Abba tribute band. They were ok although I am not an Abba fan. It must have been quite hard for them knowing that everyone was waiting for the Quo. They did a good set though and played all the old Abba hits.
To watch the sunset from the grounds was wonderful, such incredible colours.
As soon as the sun set it cooled considerably but we were well furnished with more layers of clothing to keep us warm.

When the Quo came on stage you must have heard the roar of appreciation all over Somerset.
They hadn't lost any of their energy and were soon into their act. I've never been an out and out Quo fan but even I enjoyed listening to them against the backdrop of the sunset.

It isn't easy to take pictures when there were so many bright lights on the stage but I think Mr Mog did a good job with my digital camera for these.
All too soon they were doing their final song and it was nearly time to go.
Just time to see the firework display of which this is my favourite picture.
Can you see the sky unicorn dancing? Do you think he enjoyed the gig?
We did, especially Mr Mog. I was so glad I could arrange this chance of a lifetime trip for him.